MARCH 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 3
American Pie copycat scalded
Introduction by R.O.M. Staff
More and more frivolous -- even morally and logically questionable -- lawsuits are becoming common place in court rooms across America. Judges' schedules are tied up by suits against dog groomers (Fifi's bad hair day), Ziploc (the color blind can't tell when their bags are sealed) and toilet brush manufacturers (don't ask). Law schools from Harvard to the University of Haiti are churning out wet-under-the-collar lawyers who are just itching to try their first case.
The American public is all-to-willing to accommodate them. If David E. Kelley's law dramas (Ally McBeal and The Practice) are any indication -- and who doesn't believe that Kelley is the barometer for everything in America from sleazy sex fantasies to really bad television -- big corporations, and mom and pop stores alike are in big trouble.
Every time some uncoordinated slob spills coffee while navigating his SUV across railroad tracks and simultaneously typing in e*Trade investments on his laptop, Java Hut will pay for it. Every time a microwave dinner takes longer than the instructed five minutes to heat up, Swanson will pay out big time for the emotional loss brought on by an extra thirty seconds of hunger pain.
Even the biggest, most ethical and morally strict companies are concerned. McDonald's is reportedly considering putting taste warnings on their Happy Meals ("these may or may not contain actual meat"). Even the grand daddy of staunch conservatism, the beer manufacturers, are protecting themselves.
"The FDA and our board of directors are putting heavy pressure on us," said John McBrew, CEO of the microbrewery Beer Goggling, between sips of his seasonal ale. "Not that we can't see the writing on the wall ourselves: we need to protect ourselves, the American public is by and large really, really stupid and decidely quite insane."
And protect themselves they will with a soon-to-be-released line of new warnings. Soon every beer bottle, whether it was brewed in Colorado or Massachusetts will feature a small red booklet attached to its neck by elastic. The multipage guideline, entitled "Improved alcohol appreciation and consumption," will feature a list of warnings for every possible situation a drinker might encounter.
"No one can say we're not prepared," said McBrew, a former Boy Scout. "We're only worried about two things: the new risk of elastic related injuries and the fact that half of our customers can't read anyway."
The following is an exclusive selection of the warnings found in the new manual:
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like an idiot.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends want to smash your head in.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to thay shings like thish.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at 4:00 a.m..
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell happened to your pants.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with other members of the opposite sex without spitting.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you have mystical Kung Fu powers, resulting in you getting your ass kicked.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary (whose species and or name you can't remember)
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter and more handsome than some really, really big guy named Franz.
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|SUBMITTED via e-mail by Anthony Marciano.|