Scouring the planet for a lick of common sense

Burt's Eye View

I don’t suppose you’ve noticed, but the world’s gone crazy.

I suspect that’s because we’ve misplaced our common sense and can’t find it anywhere. We’ve checked under the rug, behind the dresser, in the couch cushions, even on the floor of the car, and there isn’t a scrap of common sense to be found. The results aren’t pretty.

There was a time when we held certain truths to be self-evident, such as if you stand in the rain, you’ll get wet. Or if you take hold of the wrong end of a chain saw, you’ll experience moderate to severe discomfort.

Not today. Things that used to be considered common sense take us by surprise.

Why wasn’t our umbrella equipped with a warning bell to tell us that is was raining? Why didn’t the weatherman call us personally to let us know that the rain today happened to be of the wet variety? How were we supposed to know that?

As a great philosopher once said, “Common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.”

Instead, we just want to sue everybody for everything because nothing could possibly be our own fault.

That’s why car manuals that used to tell you how to do things like change the valves evolved into documents that said, “Don’t drink the battery fluid.” Car makers hate getting blamed for our stupidity, er, lack of common sense, the rarest of all commodities.

Most warning labels were added because someone actually tried doing the thing. Here are a few of the ridiculous warning labels you can find today, none of which, sadly, am I making up:

Next to a stairwell: “In case of fire, exit building BEFORE tweeting about it.”

On an iron-on patch package: “Do not iron while wearing shirt.”

On a reflective cardboard sun shade: “Do not drive with sun shield in place.”

On a bottle of dog medication: “May cause drowsiness. Use care when operating a car.” (But when Rover can drive again, remind him to remove the sun shield.)

On a wheelbarrow: “Not intended for highway use.” (Can I push my wife in a shopping cart then? If I promise to remove the sun shield?)

In a public restroom: “Toilets and urinals flushed with reclaimed water. Do not drink.”

At a swimming pool: “Do not breathe under water.”

On a ski slope: “Caution. Trees don’t move.”

At a grocery story: “If you choke to death on a hot dog, that is natural selection, and management is not responsible. Thanks.”

On a package of sleeping pills: “May cause drowsiness.” (Um… kinda the point.)

On a jet ski: “Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level.” (But wow, will that jet ski move!)

On hair dryers: “Do not use while sleeping.”

On a fabric marking pen: “The Vanishing Fabric Marker should not be used as a writing instrument for signing checks or any legal documents.” (It could make a great pen for secret messages, though.)

On a thermometer: “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally.” (Please, just no.)

On a carton of eggs: “This product may contain eggs.” (And my packet of peanuts may contain — wait, don’t tell me… I know! Peanuts!)

As the great philosopher Bill Engvall said, “Here’s your sign.” Use it to dig for common sense.

— Check Cole’s senses at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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