Saturday, March 19, 2011

Let's Be Reasonable

This week's spring weather prompted us to open the windows in our condo.  Yesterday, WH was in the kitchen opening the windows when he asked me if I had read the warning on our screen.  I hadn't -- in fact, I hadn't even noticed that there was a warning. This is what it said:
 
WARNING: SCREEN WILL NOT STOP OBJECTS/PERSONS FROM FALLING THRU WINDOW.
SCREENS ARE DESIGNED FOR REASONABLE INSECT CONTROL.
DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL.

 He wasn't so concerned with the poor bastard falling from the window (who, incidentally, looks like he's had a run in with Batman -- POW!). 

It was the "reasonable insect" that got him.  He was really incensed about it.

WH: What is an unreasonable insect? Is it judged by size? Or is judged by aggression? Either way, it seems like whatever they expect it to be, it can go through the metal screen. 

WT:  I guess so.

WH:  And what is a reasonable insect?  Is it reasonable because you can reason with it?  "Sorry, we don't like your kind around here . . ." and they leave?  Is it because they're cute and you don't mind them around your house?  Whatever the reasonable one is, it seems like I don't mind having the reasonable insect around.  It's the unreasonable insect that I don't want around, so what's the point of the screen?

WT:  You're probably right.

WH:  I can just see the cockroach sitting on the windowsill, looking in.  What happens, I offer him a sugar cube and say, "I'm sorry, you're not welcome here. Please leave," and he says, in an Irish accent, "Righty-o!" and leaves?  What's an unreasonable insect? He just gives you the finger and comes in anyway?

WT:  The cockroach has an Irish accent?

WH: Sure, why not. 
WT: Okay.
WH:  Are we living in the Amazon?  Rude, ugly, dangerous, dirty . . . that's unreasonable?  Seriously, let's look at this.  When all those lawyers sit around in a confernece room to write the liability sticker, what did they think is a reasonable insect? I'm not joking now.  Maybe they thought a ladybug is a reasonable insect, it's cute.  Maybe a butterfly is a reasonable insect, it's pretty, you get happy when you see it.  Now, same way, let's think about what they consider unreasaonable.  Tarantula? A very large hissing Madagascar cockroach? Again, I want the unreasonable insects to stay out.  If something can chew through the metal screen and come in, I guess it's a good thing the screen cannot stop a person jumping through, because I will jump out. They come in, I go out. In fact, what would be your reaction if you're sitting and enjoying a warm sunny day and all of the sudden you see an unidentified being sitting on your screen chewing the metal to come in?  What would you do? You can see some hair, long antennae, but if it's up here [we live on the fourth floor] you know it can fly, because it's up here out of nowhere, and it can chew through metal.  If lawyers came up with that warning, they must know something we don't know.  It has to exist.  I live in Washington, D.C., not the Amazon rainforest.
He's got a point.  Who writes these things?  And what is it that they actually mean?  They're sitting in a conference room somewhere that probably doesn't even have windows, coming up with this very poorly worded warning.  It really isn't clear.  Sure, we get it from the graphic that the screen won't keep a human in, but it might've been more helpful to have a graphic showing what exactly the screen might keep out.  It must be clear to them, but not so clear to us.  At any rate, I'm going to think twice before opening the windows from now on. I don't want to have to reason with any insects. 

8 comments:

  1. Posts like this make me sad that I live by myself! I would love to have conversations like this! You guys are the perfect match! Miss you!

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  2. I miss you too! There are a lot of ridiculous conversations in our house. Come visit and see for yourself! :)

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  3. I hate cockroaches. I'm not reasonable around them. And I get the convo. You should see some of the translations when you live in a foreign country. For instance, there was a window that advertised "Rock Down Prices." So maybe if your screen was made in China, maybe there was a way to reason with the insects. Hehe.

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  4. I find I'm less reasonable the bigger the bug is.

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  5. @Red Rider I hate cockroaches too, but nothing, I mean NOTHING is as bad as a cricket (or one of those weird spider crickets). All those pointy legs and the unpredictable jumping. EEEE!

    @Kat I have to agree . . . but a FLYING big bug is the worst of all...and crickets. Ugh.

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  6. A few years ago, I was living with my friend from High School in a house that was kind of out in the middle of nowhere. I was in the shower and heard her screaming bloody murder. *I* thought someone had broken in to the house or something, so I bust out of the shower, grab my baseball bat, and tear down the hall to her room. She's standing on a chair, screaming because there's a cricket on the floor.

    And yes, I was still naked and wet.

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  7. I guess the research analyst in me wants to know... was this sticker made to prevent potential liability, or in reaction to either pending or past litigation, alleviating a portion of a judgement or eliminating any future liability?

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  8. I can totally picture this conversation taking place between you and WH so by the end of it my coworkers were giving me weird looks since I was laughing so hard. Miss you guys!

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