A lot has been noted recently about the world’s burgeoning population: from the pressure it is placing on natural resources to the challenges facing social security given that, well… old folk just don’t die like they used to.
Now there are lots of proposals that might curb population growth by controlling the birth rate, but it occurred to me this week that maybe we’ve been working against nature on ‘the other end’ of the equation.
You see, Mother Nature used to use this neat trick called “survival of the fittest” to weed out the shallower end of the gene pool – but thanks to a litigious society and laws that allow the dumb to sue others for their own stupidity, we’ve started helping the unfit survive.
My ‘aha’ moment was a foil package in my FreshDirect box, which keeps my ice-cream sandwiches from melting while they are delivered. Printed on the outside, there’s only one small phrase: “not for microwave use”. So I have two issues with this:
- Who microwaves their ice-cream?
- Even if they do for some reason… who DOESN’T know by now that you can’t microwave foil products? It’s just one of those things you should know, like ‘don’t put your hand in the blender’.
But this warning is just a symptom of a bigger disease. On Queens Boulevard in New York – a 12-lane thoroughfare in places, they post signs like
the one on the right, saying “a pedestrian died here” so people will cross with care. Now I know that this road has been called the “Boulevard of Death”, but if a person is not smart enough to see the 12 lanes of high speed traffic, and follow the regular pedestrian “don’t walk” lights, then I think they’re probably not contributing a lot to the gene pool – except perhaps a ‘sneaky leak’ when they think no-one is looking.
But by comparison to some product warnings, this road warning seems ostensibly reasonable. Fark.com made a list of the best, of which I am particularly surprised that we are saving the lives of the idiots who might “hold the wrong end of a chainsaw”.
All I can say is that perhaps it’s time that we recanted a few laws and gave Mother Nature back the power to eliminate the weakest links, to restore balance to the universe – before I have to split my social security pension with someone who only made it to 65 thanks to the warning label that told them not to use their hair dryer while sleeping.