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(to mess up their lives)
April 18, 2004
Did you ever notice how much of life is full of warnings, full of cautions? You can’t drive from here to home after church today, without seeing something that’s a direct warning or caution, or at the very least, a law or a limit with an implied warning.
Speed limits are an example. They’re an implied warning that if you drive over that limit, you can be ticketed, or get yourself hurt, or hurt someone else.... that’s why we have limits.
There are road hazard warnings. The road narrows ahead – move over or you’ll run out of pavement. There are all kinds of warnings in life.
Most products we purchase have labels warning about improper use. I found a great list of these kinds of warnings. Believe it or not, these are all real.
- a label on a snow sled which says: "Beware: sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions."
- a fishing lure, with a warning that reads: harmful if swallowed.
- A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”
- A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to “Remove child before folding”
- A container of underarm deodorant says, “Caution: Do not spray in eyes”
- A cartridge for a laser printer warns, “Do not eat toner”
- A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, “Do not drive with sunshield in place”
We can laugh about these, and think, who would be foolish enough to need such warnings?
But apparently someone did something goofy enough, or some lawyer, thinks somebody is, or will be, foolish enough, or should we say, stupid enough, to think about eating toner from a laser printer cartridge, or driving with the sunshade in place.
Then of course, we often hear about warnings that go unheeded, and the sometimes very serious consequences of these things, that aren’t at all funny.
For example, how often have we heard the clear warning: “don’t drink and drive?”
But then how often do you hear or read of a drunk driver who causes an accident that kills someone.
How often do we hear about the dangers of illegal drugs...and then hear about someone who died of an overdose, or became addicted and ruined their life.
Not paying attention to warnings, or even to admonitions on how to live, can have serious, or even deadly consequences.
Sometimes, we even witness or experience the consequences of a behavior,
up close and personally, and follow in that path anyway, with the same or worse consequences following. There’s this true story from last year:
Ignoring Coast Guard warnings, David Manley ventured onto the icy surface of Saginaw Bay with his pickup truck one chilly morning. Predictably, the vehicle broke through the ice, but the 41-year-old managed to avert tragedy and escape from the sinking truck. He reached the shore wet and cold, but alive.
Despite his traumatic experience, and despite a day of sunshine and warm temperatures in the 60s, David returned to Saginaw Bay late the following night. This time he was driving an all-terrain vehicle, and accompanied by a friend. Surprise! The ATV also plunged through the ice.
His companion survived, but David had used up his luck. His body was recovered by the Coast Guard southwest of the Channel Islands.
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