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C-PALSY  July 2002

C-PALSY July 2002

Subject:

Re: A Funny Column - Dave Barry

From:

Carla MacInnis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

St. John's University Cerebral Palsy List

Date:

Wed, 3 Jul 2002 13:02:10 -0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Read it in our local paper, too :)


"Cleveland, Kyle E." wrote:

> Read this in our local paper: The Columbus Dispatch (alias "Columbus
> Disgrace", "Columbus Dogpatch", and on and on...).  One family owns the
> paper and they make no bones about where they stand editorially.  Dave is
> about their only saving grace.  He is too funny!
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kathy Salkin [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 10:57 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: A Funny Column - Dave Barry
>
> >From my favourite columnist, Dave Barry, published 06-30-2002:
>
> Owner's Manual Step No. 1: Bang Head Against the Wall
>
> The topic of this column is a recent Washington Post story stating that
> manufacturers of appliances, computers, cars, etc., want to know why
> Americans
> don't read their owners' manuals.
>
> WARNING: THIS COLUMN IS INTENDED FOR READING PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT USE THIS
> COLUMN AS A TOURNIQUET.
>
> One big reason why consumers don't read manuals is that the typical manual
> starts out with 15 to 25 pages of warnings, informing you of numerous highly
> unlikely ways in which you could use the product to injure or kill yourself.
>
> WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS COLUMN WHILE WATER-SKIING. DO NOT SET FIRE TO THIS
> COLUMN IN A ROOM FILLED WITH HYDROGEN.
>
> The typical consumer's reaction to these warnings is: ``What kind of moron
> would do THAT?''
>
> The correct answer to this question is: ''A wealthy moron.'' Because the
> reason these warnings exist is that somewhere, some time, some consumer with
> the IQ of a radish actually DID one of these bizarre things, and got a
> lawyer,
> and sued, and a jury made up of people whose understanding of economics is
> based entirely on grocery coupons decided, what the heck, $300 million
> sounds
> about right, but let's not tell the judge right away because first we should
> order a pizza.
>
> So every year there are more huge product-liability awards, and every year
> manufacturers have to put more warnings in the owners' manuals, and every
> year
> the radish-brains come up with newer, more innovative ways to injure
> themselves. There will come a day when every product you buy will come with
> an
> actual living lawyer inside the box, sealed in plastic; as soon as you break
> the seal, the lawyer will emerge and start preparing your product-liability
> lawsuit. (This system is feasible because product-liability lawyers are
> spore-based organisms who can survive for years without air.)
>
> Another reason why consumers don't read manuals is that products today have
> TOO MANY FEATURES. (I know, I know, I've complained about this before. So
> sue
> me.) We -- and when I say ''we,'' I am speaking for every human being in the
> world -- do not want a lot of features. In fact, for most products, we
> really
> want only two features: the ''on'' feature, and the ''off'' feature.
>
> An example of a feature that we do not want is ''picture in picture.'' This
> feature allows you to watch one channel on most of your TV screen, while
> another channel appears in a little box in the corner. The salesman always
> makes a big deal out of ''picture in picture,'' and the manual always
> devotes
> pages to how you use it.
>
> Except you don't use it. I have never seen any actual human consumer use the
> ''picture in picture'' feature, because (a) nobody remembers how it works;
> (b)
> it's annoying to have two pictures on the screen; and (c) it's hard enough
> to
> find ONE thing on TV you want to watch.
>
> The third reason why consumers don't read manuals is that many consumers are
> men, and we men would no more read a manual than we would ask directions,
> because this would be an admission that the person who wrote the manual has
> a
> bigger . . . OK, a bigger grasp of technology than we do. We men would
> rather
> hook up our new DVD player in such a way that it ignites the DVDs and shoots
> them across the room -- like small flaming UFOs -- than admit that the
> manual-writer possesses a more manly technological manhood than we do.
>
> And then there are some people who simply do not NEED manuals. I refer here
> to
> my son, who, like many young people, can immediately grasp how to operate
> any
> technological object, no matter how complex. Give my son 15 minutes in the
> space shuttle, and he will figure out not only how to launch it into orbit,
> but also how to make it play really hideous ''hip-hop'' music loud enough to
> shatter passing asteroids. (And please do not tell me that sound does not
> travel through space. ''Hip-hop'' music travels through everything).
>
> So what does all this mean? It means that if manufacturers want us to read
> their manuals, they need to take a few simple, common-sense steps: (1)
> Deport
> all the product-liability lawyers to Iraq; (2) Get rid of ''picture in
> picture''; (3) Include nothing in the manual except simple, clear, minimal
> directions, printed on photographs of tennis star Anna Kournikova naked.
> These
> steps will greatly improve consumer knowledge, and reduce unfortunate
> mishaps.
> You may now place this column over the wound.
>
> (NOTE TO MANUFACTURERS: Make sure it really IS Anna Kournikova, or you will
> be
> sued.)

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