Friday, November 27, 2009

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Fifty.

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50. Don't lather, rinse, repeat (I'm going somewhere with this, so read on.)

The other day, we had to stop and get The Boy a bottle of shampoo, something I estimate we do about 300 times a year. The Boy goes through shampoo like I go through ... I'm not sure what I go through to such an extent. Ramen noodles, maybe.

Anyway, I asked The Boy why he was using so much shampoo, and he said: "You have to lather, rinse and repeat."

I explained that, No, you don't, and gave one of my usual orders-that-are-impossible-to-enforce: Don't do that anymore.

Now, on a very superficial and small level, lather-rinse-repeat is pointless in the first place. Not only is this more of marketing ploy than hygiene tip (and a marketing ploy that might hurt your hair and also create more beauty product sales, as this article points out) but it points to something deeper in our society: The fact that we're so controlled by instructions we never bother to question.

I had a shirt once, labeled "Dry Clean Only." I wore this shirt, which was a gift, only about once a year, because whenever I wore it I had to take it to the dry cleaners and that cost a couple bucks and was a hassle, one I didn't want to go through just to wear a shirt. One year, though, I wore the shirt and was going to take it to the dry cleaners when I thought: This is stupid. Why am I going to so much trouble for a dumb shirt? I threw the shirt into my laundry and washed it... and it came out fine. I never dry-cleaned it again.

Jerry Seinfeld claimed that "dry clean only" is the only warning label people routinely follow, but I think he was wrong. I think we follow the label directions more often than that, and we follow them blindly. How often do you stick the toast in the side of the toaster labeled "One Slice Only?" Ever wonder why you do that? The toaster doesn't know if the other side has a slice of bread in it. It's a $7.00 hunk of metal that heats up. And yet, you probably religiously follow the directions if you're only making one slice of toast.

Some labels ought to be followed. Some ought not. But above all, we should be thinking about the labels we read and asking ourselves: Why am I repeating?

Also ask yourself this: Who makes one slice of toast? Toast comes in pairs, people. (<<Bonus Way!)

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

1 comment:

Hewl said...

Too much shampoo?? There is no such thing.
You hippie!

Now seriously, you're right.
Usually I only follow medicine or technology labels.
And one lather is enough, unless you have a family of bats living in your hair. (Then you can use all the shampoo you want).

Mmmm, I'm hungry. I'll go to the kitchen to get something to eat. Maybe ONE slice of toast...