Well according to the label on my office keyboard, one can “reduce the risk of serious injury” by reading the product’s Safety & Comfort Guide.
Really? What serious injury is a keyboard capable of inflicting? We are using our fingers to press keys. I suppose I could mash a key with such velocity that I break my finger. After all, who doesn’t love to throw down a bone-crushing exclamation mark to end a sentence?
But even if this dangerous device broke my finger, it’s not a serious injury. Serious injuries make us freak out. If you’re rapidly typing and your finger comes off, you’ll freak out. Severed fingers are serious injuries. If you’re working outside and a band of squirrels mistakes your fingers for nuts and gnaws them to the bone, that’s a serious injury. Bony fingers suck and will send you to the hospital.
Of course, I’m all for reducing risk. I’ve talked before about my risk aversion and how I don’t seek thrills. But when I sit down at a keyboard, I’m not thinking, “This could be trouble. I should proceed with extreme caution.” I’m not bracing for impact, saying things to myself like, “I need to make sure I don’t die here.” If you are the kind of person looking to reduce your risk at the keyboard, you need to loosen up fast. Maybe take up smoking.
Let’s face it. We’re in a world of regulations and litigation. And when something as innocuous as a keyboard comes with a warning, then probably everything should. From now on I’ll be expecting warnings on my movie tickets (paper cuts), earplugs (clogged canals) and toast (like I need to tell you any of the number of horrible things that can happen with toast).
In fact, I’m going to leave you with a warning to conclude this blog post:
To reduce the risk of serious injury, please do not try reading my blog when you are rock climbing, operating a motorboat, fighting a large man—or large woman for that matter—sword swallowing, lighting dynamite, or pursuing ISIS. Thank you.