The Richmond Register


March 19, 2013

Sometimes instructions are overkill

HAMPTON, N.H. – One recent afternoon, I turned the TV off after the fifth inning, when the St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs and took a two-run lead over the Atlanta Braves.

It was the right thing to do. It’s spring training, and it was the first game I have seen this year. I did the same thing two weeks ago when, on the way home from St. Louis, I listened to only a couple of innings of the Cardinals on the radio before switching back to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

You don’t want to overdo it early in spring training. Two weeks ago, after a couple of innings of listening to baseball, I felt one of my hamstrings tighten up, so I stopped. I’m not sure which hamstring tightened up because I’m not sure where my hamstrings are or if I even have them. Hamstrings, to me, sound like something they would serve at a fast-food joint.

“Would you like fries, Suzy Q’s or hamstrings with that?”

My point is, you can’t just plop down in front of a TV or radio and expect to be in baseball shape in March. It’s just not possible. If you do, you risk injury, which would be terrible because a spring training injury could set you back several weeks, and then you wouldn’t be able to watch or listen to baseball until mid-April, when the Kansas City Royals already will have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Ha! That’s my annual spring Kansas City Royals joke. I make a joke like that every spring, and every spring I say that hopefully the Royals have improved and the joke won’t apply, but it always does.

This year, I think, will be the last year I can make that joke for a while because the Royals look pretty good. Of course, it’s just spring training and the Royals have plenty of time to start sucking again, but I’m thinking (and hoping) that won’t happen this year.

So there, Royals’ fans, you don’t have to hit “send” on those nasty emails.

Instead of thinking about baseball, I’ve decided to think about morons. And, no, I don’t mean our Congress creatures or the Oklahoma politicians who think selling horse meat is a good idea.

I’m talking about the morons who force people who make things to slap unnecessary warnings and instructions on the products they produce.

You know, instructions such as these actual instructions that are on an actual bottle of shampoo in my actual shower: “Wet hair, massage onto scalp, rinse, repeat if desired.”

Is there anybody out there who, after buying a bottle of shampoo, says, “I sure hope this thing comes with instructions”? And then, after reading the instructions, says, “Oh! I wet my hair first! That makes much more sense.”

Wednesday night, for some reason, I was really hungry. How hungry? So hungry that I decided to fix some frozen prepared chicken wings. I don’t mean to be rude, but frozen wings taste like cardboard but without that great cardboard texture.

The only reason we had wings in our freezer is because my wife likes to prepare for emergencies such as snowstorms, Internet failures or cellphone service interruptions.

Now when it comes to cooking frozen prepared foods, a certain amount of instruction is actually needed, such as what temperature to set your oven, for example, or how long to cook the product, or what sort of container to place the frozen items on when placing them in the oven.

But beyond that, I think any more instructions are overkill. So you can imagine how I felt when, after reading that I needed to preheat the oven to 450 degrees, cook the wings on a cookie sheet for eight minutes, turn them over and cook them for eight more minutes, I also found these instructions that – as Dave Barry used to say – I am not making up: “Do not stack the wings.”

I can’t wait to read the instructions that will come with Oklahoma horse meat.

Mike Pound is a columnst for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe. Contact him at

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