We live in a world saturated by disclaimers and warnings, from "Watch your step" to warnings from the Surgeon General for any of us who haven't been paying attention for the last 30 years that "Cigarettes may cause cancer."
We know we have over-enthusiastic lawyers to blame for many of those "Duh!" signs, signs that have to get a sarcastic, "I would have never guessed," from anyone intelligent enough to tie their own shoes. Signs like "Not for human consumption" on dog food. Or, "Slippery when wet" posted on almost every horizontal surface in the known universe. Or at least that part of the universe previously invaded by trial lawyers.
Here's an experiment you can do with your children: Go through any grocery aisle and pick up a dozen bottles at random. Half will have the words "Open other end" - on the bottom of the bottle. Look at a container of razor blades or steak knifes. You'll see the warning, "Caution-Sharp."
There's a sign on the coffee cups at one fast food place that says, "Caution, coffee may be hot." Really? How about a sign on iced coffee that says, "Caution, coffee may be cold."
Despite the overabundance of warning signs, there are a few I'd like to see, but haven't yet. I see signs on the back window of cars that say, "Children on board." How about one on the back window of that car that cut me off that says, "Moron driving."
How about one on that new microwave that says, "Suitable for Toy Poodles Only!"
On a package of disposable diapers: "Use only once."
And right below that: "Do not throw in my front yard."
On all packages of peanuts: "May contain nuts."
On a package of Lifesavers: "Will not actually save your life."
On my daughters' Facebook page: "Should not be used as a substitute for actual conversation."
At the beginning of all political commercials: "The following is not intended for thinking audiences and may contain slander, innuendo and outright lies."
There are so many products out there that have the warning, "Does not prevent STDs," that I have to wonder. Foot lotion? Body wash? Do lawyers actually think the rest of us think that roll-on deodorant will prevent STDs? Don't use deodorant, and that will prevent STDs. (I guess I'll have to put my own disclaimer here; not using deodorant won't actually prevent STDs.)
The signs that really confuse me are a few signs that are otherwise clear - until you take into account where they are placed. For instance, at the drive up ATM at my bank, there's a sign that says "Assistance provided for the seeing impaired." That sign is duplicated in Braile. Now, the last time I had to renew my driver's license they made me take an eye test. There was no Braile version of that test. I am, I think understandably, confused by a Braile sign at a drive up.
The placement of the second sign is even more confusing. This sign says, "Warning: alcohol consumption can be harmful during pregnancy." Now, I fully understand the reasons and the reasoning behind this warning sign. What confuses me is that this sign is on the inside door of the men's restroom at a local restaurant. Is the restaurant manager confused about the biology involved with pregnancy?
I have a preacher friend who is convinced that these disclaimers are simply one more sign of the End Times. Of course, he's convinced that Snooki is as well. (Though he won't admit it, he's pretty sure she's the You know Who of Babylon.) He may be right there. If so, it may be that the Mark of the Beast is actually a disclaimer: "The end of the world may not prevent STDs."