Read The Directions

Does this little package look at all puzzling or mysterious to you?  Can you determine by reading the part that says “12 Pieces Sugar-Free Gum” in two languages that it’s a package of gum? If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second, good for you.  For those of you who require more information, please refer to the helpful Directions on the back of the box.

“Chew One Piece as Needed”.  So have gum buyers been shoving these little pellets into their ears and up their noses or choking to death on multiple pieces at once, or what?  I know they had to add “Caution: Hot” to McDonald’s coffee cups for all those people out there who couldn’t figure that one out on their own.  Maybe instructions for gum chewing have been there all along and I’ve just never noticed them before, being so conceited and sure of myself and confident about my gum chewing abilities that it never crossed my mind to seek outside help or advice on the subject.

On our box at work where we deposit sensitive documents that we want shredded (because just tossing them into the garbage means they might end up in the wrong hands and our patient’s privacy rights could be compromised) there is a list of things that are deemed not acceptable to be put into this container.  Batteries, food waste, and large metal objects are all on the list.  So of course you just know that the shredding company has encountered every one of these things at some point in their long shredding history.  They could add used tires, plastic bags and small children to the list, but that would just give people ideas.

On our paper towel dispensers in the washrooms at work some helpful person has written with black marker – “Pull Gently Downwards”.  Since there’s a piece of the towel protruding from the bottom of the dispenser and paper as a rule doesn’t require excessive force to move, why did somebody feel the need to write that?  I want to go in there with my own marker and instruct people to “Pull Violently Sideways” and see what happens.

And finally, isn’t it a bit weird to pick up a jar of salted peanuts and read an allergy warning that the jar contains peanuts?  We’re living in a bit of a dumbed down world.

Night Circus

The Night Circus,  written by Erin Morgenstern is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.  Perfectly delightful from beginning to end.

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Erin Morgenstern’s dark, enchanting debut takes us to the black and white tents of Le Cirque des Reves, a circus that arrives without warning, simply appearing when yesterday it was not there. Young Celia and Marco have been cast into a rivalry at The Night Circus, one arranged long ago by powers they do not fully understand. Over time, their lives become more intricately enmeshed in a dance of love, joy, deceit, heartbreak, and magic. Author Morgenstern knows her world inside and out, and she guides the reader with a confident hand. The setting and tone are never less than mesmerizing. The characters are well-realized and memorable. But it is the Night Circus itself that might be the most memorable of all. —Chris Schluep

This book is magical.  There’s really no better way to describe it.

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that.” He takes another sip of his wine. “There are many kinds of magic, after all.”