Saturday, October 22, 2005

Of Mice and Dumbasses

If our society has a motto, it is this: The needs of the stupid outweigh the needs of the many.

Our society is designed to favour stupid people. Sad, but true. Apparently, stupid people have had a horrible time trying to deal with things like toothpicks, cash registers, ladders and other potentially harmful and difficult to operate tools. So, something had to be done. The solution: change everything to suit the stupid people, and to hell with the rest of society.


Take, for example, toothpicks. On many packages of toothpicks, you will find, should you care to search, instructions. The instructions read "Moisten blunt end of toothpick. Use blunt end to clean gently between teeth. Use narrow end to clean carefully between teeth. Do not force narrow end between teeth or into gums". Yup.

Why stop there? Why not add "Do not place tip of toothpick against your eye and shove" or "Do not stick 350 toothpicks into your penis, soak them in lighter fluid, and then set them on fire"?

For God's sake people, it’s a toothpick. Arguably the single simplest tool ever devised by mankind. It has one moving part, and two operating ends. The only way we could make the toothpick simpler is if we made a toothlump. And yet still, we require instructions on the package. Why? Because some stunned fuck one day shoved a toothpick into his tongue, then successfully sued the toothpick company because the box did not contain operating instructions.

Another favourite example of mine is cash registers. Lets look at the concept of the simple cash register. A cash register has a series of buttons on it with numbers. You press the numbers to represent the digits in the price of an item. So, for example, if an item costs five dollars, you press the 5-button, followed by two 0-buttons. There are some additional buttons, for things like sales tax and stuff. Basically, nothing too complex. Any reasonably intelligent human being should be able to figure out the basic skills required to operate the average cash register in about 20 minutes. After a few days of use, they should pretty much have mastered the register.

Apparently, this is not the case. The cash register has proved to be too complex and difficult a machine for the average user to cope with. So, many companies have replaced this outmoded and complex machine with a new design. This design has a plethora of buttons, all assigned to individual menu items.

Take Tim Horton’s for example. A Tim Horton’s employee does not have to struggle with the onerous task of pressing numeric buttons. If someone orders an extra large coffee, they are spared the ordeal of pressing the 1-button, followed by then pressing the 5-button, not once, but twice! Imagine the suffering! Instead, the server merely has to press the button labeled "XL Cof". Provided they can find it amid the 63 small buttons on the register.

Some places, such as McDonalds, take this concept even farther. Instead of silly, out-dated words on the buttons, they put pictures of the menu items. So instead of ringing in $2.49 for a Big Mac, the server can merely press the button with the teeny tiny picture of a Big Mac on it. Oh, glory be to Man and his genius.

You know those little picture books for kids, which have electronic music built in? Along the side or bottom of the book are buttons that the child can press to enhance the story. Want to hear the cow moo? Press the button with a picture of a cow on it. Want to hear the guitar play? Press the button with a picture of a guitar on it.

Some people think that these enhanced picture books are designed to help children learn to read. I think they are designed to prepare children for a career at McDonalds.

Next, we take a look at ladders. Check an aluminum ladder; if it still has the stickers on it, chances are there are instructions on the ladder. You see, about 20 years ago, some genius decided to paint his barn. He got up before dawn, set his ladder against the side of the barn, and started painting. Now, it was a cold morning, but that was ok, he didn't mind.

As it turns out, the farmer had put the ladder down on top of a large pile of manure. This manure, having frozen overnight, was quite firm when the ladder was placed. The sun came up, and warmed up the world (as is its wont), including that pile of manure. As the manure warmed, it softened, thus reducing its effectiveness as a ladder base. The softened manure shifted, and the ladder shifted, and the farmer fell down and went boom.

The farmer sued the company that manufactured the ladder, as the company had failed to warn him that a pile of frozen manure would not make a suitable support for his ladder. Seriously. He won. Seriously. And so, once again, society is forced to reduce its collective intelligence level and go out of its way to protect the idiotic.

By catering to the stupid, we accomplish two things. First, we allow them to remain stupid. They don't have to think for themselves, and continue to do stupid things without considering the consequences. They can be blissfully ignorant, protected by the fact knowledge that, if what they are about to do is in any conceivable way dangerous, there will be a warning label on it. This really puts a damper on evolution. If someone is stupid enough to accidentally kill themselves with a toothpick, is this the kind of person we want spreading their DNA around?

Secondly, by coddling the stupid, they no longer have to exercise what little brains they have. They stay stupid, and often times even get more stupid through complacency. And then normal people, who aren't stupid, get lulled into the stupid mindset, by using the same stupid-enhanced equipment that the stupid people are using. In turn, making them stupid.

So, to summarize: Stupid people are getting stupider. Normal people are getting stupid. Stupid people are not dying off as quickly as they used to. Conclusion: Our society is getting dumber. Don't worry though, as long as television keeps broadcasting, no one will really mind.

3 comments:

Jokemail said...

Given your lucid and eloquent rant, you might enjoy this posting on my website, if you've not seen it before:

http://jokemail.blogspot.com/2005/08/labels-on-consumer-goods.html

I found you from Ramblings of the Bearded One.

Temposchlucker said...

Welcome to the Knights!
Mmm. . . getting money from a ladder company doesn't sound stupid.
I am told that a Chinese aviation line company distributes free chips on board of it's planes.
It has the following instructions:
1. open the packing
2. eat the chips

For the poll: Sir Flabberquest.

BStrong said...

Ok, all the books that my kids have that play music are going in the garbage.
Thankfully I was able to master the art of the toothpick the first time I touched one and no first-aid was needed.

The ladder thing, well that farm should be shot.

What do you think about people trying to sue the fast food joints because there food makes them fat? Thankfully congress will put an end to those law suites.

Typing this comment on my Logitech keyboard is giving me carpal tunnel, time to sue.

I enjoy your blog.
Cheers,
B