Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I never realized there was such danger lurking ....

.... in a regular ol' telephone book!

New phone books were left outside the office doors today and, as I picked ours up, my eye was caught by the "Caution" word in the lower-middle of the front cover. Not huge, but still there. Now, having grown up in the Washington suburbs, where there was major competition between the Yellow Pages, which was split into two very large volumes, and The One Book, which, as the name suggests, fit all of their listings into one super-large volume. The Washington DC Metropolitan Area, being what it is, thus provided for a couple different options of very cheap, very accessible weight-lifting equipment. So, OK, a warning is feasible here. Trust me, you don't want to drop even one volume of the Yellow Pages on a barefoot toe.

Except ..... this phone book outside my door today was half-size pages (5.5"x8.5"), and less than 700 pages long. Heck, I could juggle a couple of these! So the weight warning didn't make sense.

Oh, maybe it's a warning about the potential eye-strain inherent in trying to follow the tiny line from the tiny name of the company to its tiny phone number to the not-so-tiny-but-further-away phone buttons. Nah .... that might be too helpful. (Although, I'm now seeing billboards these days for the "User-Friendly Phone Book" -- no glasses needed!)

Or perhaps a disclaimer that "The views of the businesses listed herein are strictly those of aforementioned businesses, and should not be seen as representative of the phone book company, the current reader, or the individual who delivered the book to your doorstep."

Maybe a heads-up that the claims included in the advertisements may or may not accurately represent the results achieved by utilizing the advertisers?

Or that "Phone numbers and listings are accurate as of time of printing, but may no longer be valid by the time you actually need to use this book and its resources"?

So, what was it that they felt was so life-shattering that it warranted a warning on the front cover?

Caution: Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle.

So, I guess if you need a phone number, you should just do a Google search on your BlackBerry and search through all the results ..... or go rummaging around under the seat with one hand in search of a map .... or glancing in the back seat in search of the scrap of paper that has the phone number for you to call ..... so you can call the company and write down directions at a red light .... but whatever you do, DON'T OPEN THE PHONE BOOK!

Hang on a second ..... wait, I think I understand. If you try to use the directory while operating a moving vehicle, there's a chance that you might spill your Taco Bell on it, thus rendering it even more illegible than usual.

Not saying that it's not something that should be said .... I loved my commutes where you'd see people actually reading the newspaper ..... but somehow I find it hard to believe that the highest-ranking driving distraction is using the phone book. You'd think they'd at least add broaden it a little .... "don't use this or any other book, phone, CD, soup spoon, razor, contact lens inserter, nail polish, TV, computer, or any other non-driving device while operating a motor vehicle." Then, they could instead put a disclaimer, relieving them of all responsibility for your use of above-mentioned items.

I'm just so glad we have the folks out there who are so concerned for our well-being that they want to be sure that we will not try to use our Chapstick in our eyes. Otherwise, we might not realize that our jar of peanuts may have been processed in a facility that processes nuts.

So, have a good night everyone, and be aware that the failure to move miscellaneous items from the bed-to-alarm-clock path may result in injury and/or cursing.

Consider yourself warned.


Blogger Christine said...

wow. Great to "find" you. You are funny and insightful and thanks for blogging!

10/05/2005 1:44 AM  

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