Long before Apple's iPod Shuffle came with the warning that it should not be eaten, companies hoping to avoid litigation have been bombarding us with the obvious. These warning labels have proliferated like bunnies and spilled over to direct-to-consumer advertising. You've seen them: The drug ad with the caution that you should discontinue this product if you develop hives, your hair falls out or you lapse into a coma and don't wake up for more than 48 hours.
Personally, I love warning labels. And from my perspective, it's not just electronics, prescription drugs or music with explicit lyrics that should come with them. I think people should have them as well. Admit it, wouldn't it be pretty great if prospective husbands/wives carried a warning label like: "Prone to infidelity if left alone for a weekend," or "Apology-prone with bad behaviors that won't fade in time."
I see examples all the time of how warning labels would be helpful. How about "Uses Facebook to connect with old boyfriends and should know better." Or "First-born just left for college and predisposed to weeping in the shower."
While warning labels would be useful when our kids are young -- "Sitting near Dylan will lead to misbehavior involving glue sticks," or "Unsupervised use of electronic devices may result in improper situational texting." In my house with two teenagers, I'd appreciate one that says, "Due to hormonal mood swings, do not expect conversational engagement."
I know a young woman so eager to marry that she should have a warning label "About to settle." And a guy I used to work with totally needed a label saying "Bathes infrequently; cologne applied in this quantity has been shown to have deleterious effects."
What would my warning label say?
It would probably caution against letting me out in the sun without sunscreen and a hat. You know, "Prone to freckles and doesn't faithfully get suspicious spots checked with the dermatologist." But it would also likely caution people that I am "Funny when wants to be, but since wit has been determined to be biting among certain sensitive population groups, there is a risk of unintended injury or insult. Should the rare occasion of biting wit occur, clean the wound area and seek her editor's attention by hitting the corrections form at the bottom of this post."
There also might be a warning label for me that says, "Won't shrink from controversy but best not to bully her kids" and certainly one that says "Does not tolerate traffic delays well. If encountered during a delay of more than an hour, expect symptoms of road rage." If I was being totally honest, I would probably also get a warning label that said "Insufficient sleep will lead to loss of patience and temper outbursts."
My Dear Husband thinks my warning label should say "If you say it within earshot, it will appear here tomorrow." I wish he was wrong, but he isn't. I guess my warning label is really "Discloses personal stuff for clicks; share with her accordingly."
(Your turn, now. What would your warning label say -- and please don't write "Inclined to waste too much time reading silly things like this online.")