Don't Try This at Home; Wacky Warnings Gone Wild

Reader Richard Lorentz notified me about a Wacky Warning Label Contest conducted by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch.

The entries included a digital thermometer that came with these instructions: "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally."

And there was this label on a children's scooter: "This product moves when used."

The winner of the grand prize was a toilet brush that notified users: "Do not use for personal hygiene." Interestingly enough, in the 1994 movie "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult," heavyweight boxer-turned-actor Tex Cobb brushes his teeth with just such a brush while portraying the world's nastiest prison inmate.

I wonder if a lawyer for the toilet brush company added the "personal hygiene" warning out of fear that fans of the movie would rush home and try to be like Tex.

This column's awards: Speaking of wacky warnings, readers have been sending me excellent examples of the "Duh!" genre for years, including:

* "Camera operates only when loaded with film" (spotted by Steve Lowe).

* "Never operate vehicle with sunshade in windshield" (Suzan Moore).

* And, on a box of cat litter: "Safe for use around pets" (Jean Cochran and Jeanne Chesley Barney).

What's that you say? You don't believe that such warnings are really issued? OK, look for yourself at more evidence (see accompanying):

* A tip for those who don't want to break their teeth on frozen pizza (from Adam Fritzal).

* A sidewalk reminder for the unobservant (Neil Irish).

* A lifeboat notice for landlubbers (Ruth Siegall).

* A rule for unclear-on-the-concept users of swimming pools (John Goodlad).

Stupid Criminal Tricks: The owner of a Volkswagen van approached his parked vehicle in Redondo Beach and noticed a man kneeling at the rear.

The owner asked the man what he was doing. "I'm stealing this battery," he replied, according to the Beach Reporter newspaper.

"No, you're not," the owner replied. "This is my van." When the suspect threatened him, the owner retreated and called police, who arrested the honest-to-a-fault suspect.

More suspicious activity: The police blotter of the Seal Beach Sun said, "A caller reported two males sitting in an older van stripped to the primer. The subjects wore beanies and were pointing at a ship in the shipyard."

I assume it was the van and not the males who were stripped to the primer.

miscelLAny: Not sure whether I was behind Johnny Mountain or Fritz Coleman on the San Diego Freeway the other day. All I know is the car's vanity plate gave a timely weather report: DRKSKYZ.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATimes, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World