We live in the age of the legal arms race.
On one side, lawyers like to launch lawsuits against companies whom they say have failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions for their products. For the most part, this is a valuable service, and the legitimate lawsuits keep companies (or individuals) accountable.
Of course there are also plenty of spurious lawsuits, launched primarily to drum up business for a lawyer or a fat claims check for the complainant. So on the other side, you have companies employing legions of lawyers to review product licenses or owner’s manuals, and rewriting them to cover every eventuality.
This means you get software license agreements that are up to 18 pages long, just for a simple game installation. Or you get manuals with warnings like:
“The first step in using your seatbelt is ‘Enter the vehicle…'”
Or how about this sage advice?
“If a fire starts while you are refuelling … leave the area immediately.”
Rather than reading obvious advice in my car manual, I’d like warnings about less obvious situations in my life. Here’s my list of Things I’d Genuinely Like To Know Before It’s Too Late:
- The FedEx guy will be here two hours early with that important I-can’t-not-take-this delivery. Grab a shower now.
- Your Internet access will cut out suddenly today at 10:45 a.m. Don’t forget your online application is due by 11 a.m.
- That blue pickup truck is about to cut in front of you.
- That’s not the winning lottery ticket.
Or even better:
- That is the winning lottery ticket.
- That house you’re looking at buying is the dead man’s gun of real estate. Avoid it at all costs.
- The next question you get will be really stupid. Prepare your “polite smile face.” It’s much better than your “Did you just say that?” face.
- The doctor is lying when he says this will “pinch a bit.”
- Turn down the heat on the potatoes now. Your child is about to do something that will keep you too busy to deal with a boil over.
Or, as I’m sure all parents would agree, an all purpose:
- Your child is about to do something.
- Windows is about to summarily close every program you have open, and then pretend nothing has happened. Save your data now.
- You will have a 2 a.m. craving for sour cream and onion potato chips. Buy some now, when there’s, you know, daylight and everything.
- There is only one cashier on duty at this megastore, and they’re out of potato chips.
- That bedpost is much closer than your toes think.
- The mayonnaise in that egg salad sandwich went off this morning.
- That razor blade is dull.
- The person who used this sink before you ran the water until it got really hot.
- There is no toilet paper.
- Relax. Your train/plane/bus will be departing two hours late, so you don’t need to kill yourself getting to the station on time.
- Turning on that appliance will blow the breaker.
- In spite of the forecast for sun, it’s going to pour rain all day.
- It’s not going to be a tax refund this year.
- A pipe has been leaking water into your dining room ceiling since about 9 a.m. The accumulated water will break through right around dinner time.
- This page will run out of space for this pos-