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Always read and follow directions; that’s what we’re told. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve also been told that men[TP1] don’t follow directions - and why would we, when we’re constantly told we don’t.
Lately, I’ve found myself reading them more often, mostly for the entertainment value. For example, shampoo instructions say: apply a liberal amount, lather, rinse, repeat. Do we keep repeating until the bottle is empty? It doesn’t say when to stop. On the carton it says to avoid bacteria, cook eggs until the yolks are firm. Firm? How am I supposed to enjoy my eggs over-easy? Apparently, some people read that label because I’ve been to restaurants where the cook had no idea what over-easy meant.
Last night my brother Dan watched while I prepared chicken kabobs for the grill. I randomly skewed meat and various vegetables. “You don’t have a system, or an order in which you put meat or veggies on the skewer do you?” He asked.
“No, I don’t, I just keep adding things until the stick is full.” I explained. “I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it. Just be careful with the mushrooms because if you split them, they’ll fall off the skewer on the grill” Maybe there is a right and wrong way.
With my curiosity roused, I pulled out the package of skewers to read the directions. There were none at all! “Wow,” I thought to myself, “without directions, someone could stab their finger or skew their hand.” Sometimes I don’t read directions because the idiocy is too much for me to handle.
Yesterday, I decided to read the directions on a pail of drywall finishing compound. It says to let the mud dry completely before applying another coat. Really? Who knew? Sometimes the directions are so obvious that reading them seems to be a waste of my time. But there have been times when failing to read the directions, left me in a bad situation.
After a long day of strenuous physical labor, I was tired. I took a shower and went right to bed. My muscles ached so badly I couldn’t get to sleep. I got up, went to the bathroom and took a tube of Icy Hot from the cabinet. I slathered my biceps, shoulders, neck, lower back, thighs and calves with the gooey cream. I set the tube on the vanity, put my pajamas back on and returned to bed. I laid out a hand towel to keep the Icy Hot from getting on my pillow.
The smell was so strong, I thought someone had shoved an entire jar of Vick’s Vapo Rub into my nostrils. The product began to work its magic as the heat was penetrating into my body – more and more. Pretty soon I felt like it was two hundred degrees. With concerns of spontaneous combustion, I thought about taking a shower to wash it off but that stuff could end up running to parts of my body where I really didn’t want it. “I wonder if it’s possibly to apply too much of this stuff? Maybe, I should have read the directions.” I kicked off the covers and turned on the ceiling fan then laughed myself to sleep thinking, “Fanning flames only makes the fire hotter.” I didn’t sleep very well.
In the morning, I was very groggy when I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I put the toothpaste on the brush and brought it too my mouth, but the smell of the menthol was still very strong. I set my toothbrush on the counter, put on my glasses and picked up the Icy Hot to read the label and see how long the smell would last, but I inadvertently grabbed up the toothpaste. I picked up my toothbrush and sniffed the paste, “Holy smokes! I just put Icy Hot on my tooth brush!” Try as you may, you can’t get the smell of that stuff out of the bristles. I threw it away and got a new brush.
I started reading the label: Do not apply to eyes, nose, mouth or… Avoid taking a bath or shower within 1 hour after you apply to your skin. Warm water can increase the burning sensation caused by capsaicin. “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t shower last night.”
I read on: After applying the medication, wash your hands unless you are using this medication to treat the hands. “Good point Captain Obvious. Geesh.” Do not take internally. “Well, I wasn’t going to on purpose.” The tubes were lying next to each other, front side down, and looked very similar, how was I to know I grabbed the wrong one? This was not my fault. I determined these directions were too simple for me to read.
Maybe I didn’t heed the advice, always read and follow directions, because nobody told me. Or, maybe they did but I didn’t hear them. But that falls under the category of men with selective hearing, and that’s another story for another time.