Payday loans
RedShirts 2 Ad Banner for Kickstarter

Archive for August 21st, 2007

Warning Signs

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

There are many dangerous things in the world.  And occasionally you might find yourself in a position to alert someone else to a danger that they might not be aware of.   This usually happens because you have more specific experience or knowledge than the warnee, medicine but sometimes it’s just because they are drunk, commissioned, or in some other way possessing an impaired mental ability.

But one thing I have noticed, fairly consistently, is that attempts to warn people frequently backfire.

For instance, back when I was in the Army, a well intentioned NCO advised us to be careful with MRE heating pads.  It turns out that the gas they give off when used is flammable, and under the right circumstances can actually be explosive.

He didn’t add the phrase “and so using it to try to blow stuff up would be completely awesome!” but we felt it was implied, and someone lost their eyebrows.

Once we were shown a list of businesses that all soldiers were forbidden to visit.  The Army might as well have titled the document “All the good stuff is here.  Have fun boys!”

Like many people who grew up in a colder area, I was warned not to lick lamp posts, because my tongue would get stuck.

Now I understand that all children are generally pretty stupid, and prone to doing all manner of ridiculous things.  And I also get that I was probably not an exception to this statement.

But I’m pretty sure that it never once occurred to me to try licking a lamp post, cold weather or otherwise.  Until the day my parents warned me about it.  That day I started to wonder.

Why do they think I want to lick the lamp post?  Do people like licking the lamp post?  Why do people like licking the lamp post?  Is the lamp post yummy?  Is this one of those things that I’m really supposed to worry about, like strangers or getting lost at the mall?  Or is this one of those things your parents are just screwing with you about, like the Tooth Fairy or You Were Adopted.

Fortunately for me another little boy at school had been wondering the same thing.  So I got to learn two important lessons that day.  The first was “Sometimes crazy things are actually true” and the second was “Always get the dumb guy to go first”.