Sunday, July 27, 2003

the eyes have it

There is a nineteen-year-old kid who works for me in the shop on the rare occasion that I can manage to schedule myself a day off. Yesterday was one of those irregular occurrences, and when I returned to the office this morning, I found the following list on the front desk, bordered on its left side by hand-drawn checkboxes that I would assume classify it as the “To Do” variety. It read:

• Hook up system
• Do laundry
• Tint windows
• Hang poster

Ah, to be ten years younger, when the extent of my concerns was such as this. Nothing that involves business or finance or any greater responsibility than lightening the skidmarks in one’s own underpants. But boo hoo, I’ve broadcast this boring woe-is-me-just-look-at-all-the-wrinkles libretto too recently to rehash. Besides, if I’d written a comparable list at the same age, it would have looked more like this:

• Attempt to further ingrain tenets of Communism in terrarium’s hermit crab population
• Sniff clothing from floor to ascertain degree of odorous objectionability; separate
• Tape aluminum foil over apartment windows
• Hang roommate

Oh, and each item would have begun with “Get stoned and…” to boot, so I think the kid’s probably got me beaten in the responsibility department by a sizable margin.

Sometimes I am struck in a very Jerry Seinfeld sort of way by the warnings printed on product packaging. This happened Friday when I had occasion to examine the label on the outside of a tube of vaginal cream (please don’t ask) and found it to read “Not for ophthalmic use.” The warning wasn’t on the box or even the back, where the other warnings were listed, but right on the front of the tube, just under the product’s name, in big bold letters. Now there’s a story I’d love to hear.

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