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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Solving Cushion Cautions

Earlier this month I wrote a very exciting essay about my new driver's seat cushion and closed with the intention of someday reading the instructions. I have done so and can quote from memory: "Place cushion flat on your seat with gel side facing up." In fact, I have brought it in from the car for a web-cam photo and am confident I can reinstall it.

However, once this operational lesson was mastered I found a long list of warnings and cautions further down the page. I know these must be necessary for protection of buyer and manufacturer. The human mind is a complicated thing and cannot reliably correlate all its contents. Norma took photos:
This seat cushion must only be used while seated, but not seated in bed asleep under blankets while unsound of mind or body --or while one's attendant (or keeper) is on break and not supervising what one is plugging the cushion into.  Failure to follow warnings results in things so horrible they don't even fit in the photo.  Thus concludes the "cautions" and commenceth "warnings". Of course "This is not a toy!" Toys are what I give my grandchildren and decline this warning to "Keep away" from them. I have seen this advice printed on matchbooks too, but refuse to neglect my family.  And I do live far enough inland to know my seat cushion from a flotation device --or do I (it is also spelled floatation)? Let's proceed:
Here we continue warnings against excessive force --would that the world would comply! This could end war. It is followed by advice to leave the cushion alone should it explode --and not leave anywhere, especially respectable social gatherings, while plugged into a 12volt power source.  I never do. The rest of it, I will consult if ever seized by a compulsion to use my cushion while wet and smoking over an open flame. And yet...

And yet, I acknowledge the mind is a complicated thing and must be attuned to specific instructions and precautions. Our very language attests. For instance, steer and stere are pronounced identically, yet the first means a boy-cow and the second, a cubic meter. Similarly, paradiddle is a sort of drum roll while taradiddle means nonsense. Frankly, my inclination is toward the latter but I'm sure you get my point, whatever it is.


27 comments:

  1. I really enjoy the flummadiddle and clatfart you introduce in your posts. They make life full of stultiloquence.

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    1. Thank you, dear Emma. I accept your compliment with as much effutiation and fadoodle as I can muster.

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  2. Those ominous warnings didn't mention anything about using the cushion when blogging....

    .....but if I were you I wouldn't use it while listening to Stravinsky. Especially if you're wet.

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    1. The rightness of springs may have been preferable in Stravinsky's heyday but I find them too bouncy for modern driving. Gel and memory foam are more comfortable in newer automotive cushions.

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  3. Where would we be without lawyers?

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    1. I'm afraid the jury is still out on that question, Sage.

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    1. Arleen, I fear to speculate what calamities precipitated some of those warnings.

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  5. Good Lord. But I guess you cannot underestimate the intelligence of the consumer public.

    Some years ago, I came across instructions for a Sears power push lawnmower that said (I paraphrase) "don't lift the lawnmower in the air while it is running to attempt to use is as a hedge trimmer." Sounds ridiculous, but apparently this was indeed a verifiable accident that led to a law suit which Sears settled for lot of money. I would have termed it "Nature removing the hands of the stupid."

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    1. Geezer, this might be my 1st-ever Bismarck quote: "The less people know about how laws and sausages are made, the better they'll sleep at night."

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  6. Back in the mid-west we had a word Perdiddle defining a car with only 1 headlight and meaning a couple on a date could kiss. This was back in the era of "cruising" and taking a spot at your favorite drive in or perhaps on a "lovers lane." So, one of the guys, more into cars, wrenches, engine lifts, speed and drag racing would disconnect a head light and make the circuit. The rest of us were greatly appreciative.

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    1. Perdiddle, that is one I shall definitely add to my lexicon. Thanks, Tom, for that gem of regional philology!

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    2. Huh, my wife (from DC originally) had the same def. except she called them 'padiddles'.

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    3. Ok, maybe it's my present state of less-than-optimum mental clarity because everyone else seems familiar with the said cushion, but what the hell kind of cushion needs plugging in??

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    4. Mike, I've heard the word "wash" pronounced "warsh" in Oregon and Ohio and suspect "perdiddle" and "Padiddle" may be a similar example of a word spreading through regional dialects.

      As to the plug-in cushions, for the past few years factory-installed heated seats have been a auto-selling point and raise the price of new cars considerably. Much cheaper to just get electrically heated cushions later on --not that we really need them in California.

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  7. I would suggest that it might be a dubious scenario allowing any mentally incapacitated individual to drive, even though a good 50% of drivers fall into that category - AND THEY'RE NOT (ALL) LADIES. Now, as to incontinence....that's another matter entirely.

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    1. Tom, you've found the legal loophole in their cautions. They don't say we shouldn't drive while mentally incapacitated, only that we shouldn't use their cushion. Well done!

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  8. In answer to your final sentence, you have so many points here that it's like reading a porcupine ... favourite line today is "...warning ... "Keep away"... I have seen this advice printed on matchbooks too, but refuse to neglect my family." Hee hee ... I once had instructions for a hand-held hair dryer that said "do not use while sleeping" ...

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    1. Yikes, in a multitasking society sleeping and hair-drying might be an issue. And yet, it might be an effective caution on cars; sometimes I see drivers who seem to be slipping in and out of consciousness. O Jenny, we live in funny old world.

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  9. LOL! Well at least some people now have read these complicated instructions. Dire warnings are everywhere; I don't think people pay any attention anymore. It's all so overwhelming and depressing! At least you make it fun!

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    1. Thank you, Blue. I believe it all started when I was a kid and found directions on a shampoo bottle. Sometimes, just taking notice makes fun out of details.

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  10. I confess I dropped out of college because it was interfering with my education but I'm beginning to believe I'm not smart enough to follow your blogs. Effutiation ain't really a word is it? I know about fadoodling? I used to do a lot of that when I was younger! I'm just an old country boy from West Virginia. A lot of your words are to highfalutin for me!I got to go take some Excedrin for my headache!!!!!!ha ha ha ha ha

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    1. I confess in return that I never heard of effutiation until reading Emma's 1st-responder comment and googling clatfart to a site that listed lots of words that mean nonsense. Words are for fun, like puzzles, and show what fluid and changing thing our language is.

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  11. Haha...don't think I'll ever touch a cushion again...it appears the hidden dangers of using one may well outweigh the comfort!! ;)
    It brings to mind and eye cream I once bought that came with a whole list of "don't's", including "Do not apply in or around the eye!"lol
    Mad or what??

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    1. Possibly mad. There is certainly irony in a product eliminated by its own cautions.

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  12. Life should come with better warning labels. I've known a few people who really should have had them tattooed on their foreheads.

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    1. Excellent idea! Maybe written in reverse so I could read it in the mirror --you're onto something important here, Squid.

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