• Questionable judgment



    WASHINGTON. DC: Just questions today. No answers.

    When they sell you eyeglasses, why do manufacturers still give away soft, hypoallergenic cloths and anti-static, sterile, non-silicone lens-cleaning solution when they know that after religiously using these products for as long as an entire week, 95 percent of us will revert to our shirttails and spit?

    If we can build a car that can drive itself and a computer that can beat a chess grandmaster, why can we not have a “Comments” tab on online articles that is programmed so that when there is only one comment it reads “1 Comment” instead of “1 Comments”?

    Is there no tipping point at which the legal requirements to include possible complications at the end of pharmaceutical TV commercials will result in something so awful-sounding that the company will decide, “Oh, hell, let’s just not run this”? I ask because I just heard a commercial for an anti-cancer product that voice-overs a harrowing disclaimer for a full 32 seconds of horror as faces of solicitous doctors and grateful, smiling patients fill the screen:

    “Opdivo can cause your immune system to attack normal organs and tissues. … This may happen anytime during or after treatment has ended and may become serious and lead to death … “ and so forth. How bad do the warnings have to be in order to trigger a “the hell with it” decision? Would this do the trick:

    “See your doctor immediately if you experience spontaneous hermaphroditism”?

    No? Then how about “Side effects include the possible expulsion of a fanged alien fetus from your chest cavity”?

    Why can’t all cars have the gas tank on the same side so we don’t end up in this spaghetti western faceoff thing at the pumps?

    Why have car manufacturers not figured out that it doesn’t really convince us of anything when the actors in their commercials stare in awe at the astonishingly sleek, sexy lines of the new Accord or Camry that is passing by, and which looks exactly like the old Accord or Camry, which looks like something that an 8-year-old child would draw if you asked him to draw a “car,” only less interesting?

    Why is produce the first thing you encounter in every supermarket, placing it at risk of getting pancaked by everything you put in the cart after it? And what’s so magical about “the key”? You know, the one the cashier needs to wait for from a supervisor in order to complete the checkout of the person three ahead of you who has decided she doesn’t want the frozen peas after all?

    Why is it that 70 years after ENIAC, and 35 years after their use had anything whatsoever to do with arithmetic calculation, we still call them “computers”?

    To pass our driver’s license exams, why not just require us to know that “objects are closer than they appear” and quit printing it on all those mirrors? Or “bridges freeze before roadways.” This would save a fortune on all that signage. I mean, we don’t have street signs saying “Alert: Other cars are moving, too.”

    Why do writers keep trying to sneak lame “pet peeves” columns past us by tarting them up as something new and different, as though no one will evernotice?



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