Is Reading Directions Really That Important?

I submit: “It depends”. Directions

Warning labels, no matter how silly, supposedly protect us from ourselves and manufacturers from lawsuits. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re just funny. Example: The do-not-remove-this-mattress-tag-under-penalty-of-severe-prosecution-and-fines. I look over my shoulder and tear them off with glee, daring the mattress cops to come and get me. (If you’re a mattress cop, the last sentence was a fictional work of the author’s vivid imagination.)

Last week, I received a few promotional freebies at a kid’s sale. One was a surprisingly delicious Kombucha drink. The other was a handful of travel size samples for sick babies. Not cool babies. It looked exactly like a packet of methanol rub on your chest would look like if they made it in baby concentration. I didn’t think much about when I accepted the samples. My baby is a tween and as tall as I am (above average height). I took it home and put them on my nightstand, intending to use one next time my nose congested itself into a bind.

One week goes by, SanTana Winds (Santa Ana Winds is incorrect) tear through our neighborhood, and I find myself tired and congested. I go to bed. I see the samples sitting by my bed. I have already taken off my glasses, and tucked myself in, but the samples caught my eye during my last glance at the nightstand. I sniff and my nose is swollen shut, so to speak.

Aha! I can try out one of the samples. I tear it open with my teeth, just like I was taught not to do, squeeze some on my hand, and rub it all over my chest. It’s a skoosh sticky and my fingers feel a bit tacky. This is to make it stick. Maybe it’s an old sample and a little dried out.

Then I wait for the methanol wafting to begin. I sniff and get nothing. My nose is plugged up, so this isn’t too surprising. I sniff my hand that swabbed the deck. I get nothing. Weird, this baby concentration is more than just weak, it must be for sensitive hypo-allergenic congested babies. I sniff again, in case it takes body heat to activate. It doesn’t.

Now, I’m not sleepy and I’m annoyed. I pick up the packet and read it. Okay. That doesn’t help, it’s just as I would expect a packet of methanol rub on your chest packet would look like if they made it in baby concentration. I turn it over and read the directions. “Drink this homeopathic remedy just before bedtime.”

When I’m done howling, have wiped the tears off my face, and explained to my husband why he’s right again (he says I never read the directions, technically this is not true), I decide to taste it. I lick my tacky finger. It’s delicious, so I swig the rest of the sample down like a pro.

This reading directions thing: Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re just funny.


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