The tag says DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG. WARN CHILDREN OF THE RISK OF DEATH BY ELECTRICAL SHOCK. So when I was a kid and read that tag, I somehow thought that if you removed that tag, you would receive a fatal electrical shock. Why would they word it that way? I'm 33, closing in on 34, and I've still never removed a hair-dryer tag, just in case.
Remembering that made me think of some of the other things that used to confuse me, or that I didn't figure out until I was much older than I should have been.
Did anyone else ever wonder about the tags on mattresses and pillows too? Why is it that removing a tag from a mattress is an offense punishable by the threat of jail time, but you get arrested for driving drunk, and you most likely won't ever see the inside of a jail cell? Really? I wonder what that conversation is like on Cell Block D in Leavenworth... "What are you in for man?" "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, you?" "I went into a store and tore the tags off of 3 mattresses and a dozen pillows." "That's hard core, man."
Who polices that? I know for a fact that the abundance of drugs, gangs, and domestic violence in combination with your run of the mill barking dog complaints, speeders and the aforementioned drunk drivers keep my husband so busy that he rarely has time to do unannounced mattress and pillow checks on the unsuspecting residents of Everson and Nooksack. So who enforces that? Do they have to obtain a warrant to check for mattress tags? I remember one time, I got a wild hair and decided that I was going to tear a tag off, and it was so firmly attached on there that I couldn't tear it off. I gave up after a few fruitless tugs. I guess I wasn't that committed to it, or fate was stepping in and preventing me from recklessly breaking the law like that, and sparing me from further uncomfortable questions during my pre-employment polygraph for the Blaine Police Department. I wonder if that would be a deal breaker...
Anyone else ever have their mother tell them, "Always wear clean underwear in case you have an accident?" If my mother had worded it, "In case you're in an accident," I probably would have figured that out before I was 16 years old. I always thought, "How stupid is that?" Because an accident is wetting your pants, right? So what does it matter if they are clean or not to begin with? Sadly, I really was probably somewhere around the age of 16 before that clicked in my head. I heard it said again, and it finally made sense.
Another one, and this is probably a Christianson Family exclusive, is the word "Bink." Even my computer's spell-checker is underlining that word in red telling me that it isn't a word. When my sister and I were little, we always got our fingernails "binked" by my father. Apparently that came from the sound that the fingernail clippers make when you clip a nail. My father would say "bink, bink" with each nail, and it became a word in our family. We'd always ask, "Papa, will you bink my nails?"
This one is even sadder because I think I was 19 before I realized that it wasn't a real word and that not everyone knew what binking meant. I took my cat, Tiger, to the vet and he was going to have to stay for a few hours and have some stuff done, and I think he was being sedated. So I asked, "Would you bink his nails while he's here?" And even though the receptionist looked a little confused, I guess she got the gist of what I meant, and sure enough, when I picked Tiger up his nails were very nicely binked.
It finally dawned on me that "bink" was not actually a verb and that most people didn't know what it was. That was definitely not my proudest day.
However, even armed with the knowledge that bink is not a real verb, I have continued to use it as such, and have decided that instead of modifying my behavior and using the actual term for clipping one's nails, I have made it my mission to enlighten the greater world around me to the wonderful word that I grew up with.