Caution: Laughter May Cause a Rise in Blood Pressure


One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year is, no kidding, a doormat, one with a label proclaiming, “This perfectly fine if not certainly adequate DOORMAT is Made in the USA.”

This fine doormat was bundled with some other gifts, one of which was a prodigious chunk of fine blue cheese. A love of blue cheese is certainly an acquired taste, one that I certainly acquired years ago. I love the stuff. The fact that good blue cheese smells, some say, like dirty socks, which are attached to feet, which are attached to shoes, which are wiped on doormats, ties the whole gift together nicely.

The doormat is not only a most certainly adequate doormat, it is wonderfully inscribed for this specific locale, “THE SHELBURNE CENTER For Exceptional Grandchildren.”

Hard to get better than that, but, surprise! One of the finest things about this fine doormat is its warning label. It has one, of course. These days in the Nanny State everything anyone produces is lawsuit fodder, priced to deal with future lawsuits, price-inflated from past lawsuits, and covered in lawyer droppings. It might be a garden hose (“Don’t stick this thing down your throat and crank up the faucet!”) or a cup of coffee (“Surprise! This stuff is hot!”), but it will feature lawyer litter.

This doormat did, too. I’m bettin’ that the “Chairman of the Board” of the business wrote this “warning” himself. He’s the guy whose motto is, “If it isn’t funny, it isn’t fun.” And the doormat warnings are fun, for sure.

“Do not use mat as a projectile. Sudden acceleration to dangerous speeds may cause injury.”

“When using mat, follow directions: Put your right foot in, put your right foot out; put your right foot in and shake it all about.”

“This mat is not designed to sustain gross weight exceeding 12,000 pounds.”

“If mat begins to smoke, immediately seek shelter and cover head.”

“Caution: If coffee spills on mat, assume that it is very hot.”

“Small food particles trapped in fibers may attract vermin.”

“When not in use, mat should be kept out of reach of children diagnosed with CFED (Compulsive Fiber Eating Disorder).”

And my favorite: “Do not glue mat to porous surfaces such as pregnant women, pets, and heavy machinery.”

Well, there you have it. Or, rather, there I have it. A perfectly fine doormat and instructions on how to use it in a relatively safe manner.

I hope the doormat-sellers sell a bunch of them. If it’s a small business, it’ll need help to survive government’s war on small business. But anybody with that kind of sense of humor deserves to have his stuff bought and his business get bigger.

Besides, I figure that the Lord who talks about camels going through the eyes of needles, and pokes fun at folks with 2 X 4’s in their eyes pointing out the dust-specks in the eyes of their compadres—that Lord seems to enjoy some good humor.

Caution: Laughter, while generally safe and even conducive to good spiritual and physical health, may cause an unsafe rise in blood pressure. Take the risk.

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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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