Here’s the deal. No one knows when the generic warning – Do Not Attempt – was first used. Perhaps our braver Neanderthal ancestors would run, haphazardly, towards a wooly mammoth with only a sharpened rock…while his buddy would hold everybody else back, muttering, “Do not attempt.” Or, more likely, it’s a relatively new phrase. Either way, I see it consistently used in the most ridiculous places.
A recent All-State commercial got me thinking about this specifically. You know the series of insurance commercials where Dean Winters plays Mayhem (speaking of mayhem, did you know that this guy had a bacterial infection in 2009 and died in the ambulance to the hospital…his heart stopped beating for over two minutes before he was revived…I guess that’s type casting)? I think these commercials are relatively clever. It’s just the disclaimer that bothers me.
In the commercial I’m thinking of, Mayhem is playing the role of blind spot. So, Mr. Winters is clinging to the outside of a mini-van that is barreling down the freeway – he tells the driver to make a lane change, and the mini-van is struck by another car. And, at the bottom of the screen, are those three friendly words, Do Not Attempt.
Who is this for?
Is there anyone, anywhere watching this commercial and calling out to their better half, “Hey, honey, this commercial seems to be advocating riding on the exterior of the car. And, also, the product seems to suggest that we ought to barrel into other vehicles while loosely clinging to the outside of our automobile.”
And if, by some bizarre stretch of the imagination, that person does exist, do they then say, “Oh, wait, honey, never mind, the commercial goes on to say that we should not attempt this. Good thing they told me, I was plum confused.”
(I’m guessing that anyone that sees this commercial and is inspired to reenact it may not be blessed with the ability to read. Just a hypothesis.)
Don’t worry, All-State, nobody was going to attempt this. Most of us already know that you used movie magic to create this illusion and that no one even attempted this in the first place. Until you put up your little disclaimer, it had never even crossed our minds to attempt this. If anything we are slightly more likely to consider this option because you even thought to bring it up.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I convince lawyers everywhere that we really don’t need to warn against the obvious? Give me a second here, I need to touch base with my lawyer and see what my best approach would be…just talk amongst yourselves…
Okay, I’m back. After speaking with counsel, I’ve realized I have a little housekeeping of my own to do before I can tackle this assignment. I just need to let all of my readers know that this blog is for external use only. And, while not necessary, it couldn’t hurt to wear safety goggles while reading. All posts should be kept away from open flames (then again, what shouldn’t be?) This blog is not dishwasher safe. Jokes may not be valid in all states. Do not read this blog while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Avoid prolonged exposure to my writing. And, I apologize for this one, blog may cause drowsiness.
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