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The Most Ignored Warning Labels on Earth

Luis Prada, Man Cave Daily
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(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Warning labels exist for a reason. They’re there because some people will use a product incorrectly, then they’ll get hurt or end up in the hospital with some thingy rammed up their butt, and they’ll sue the manufacturer for not warning them that they shouldn’t have put that thingy in their butt. It’s a company’s way of protecting itself, and this self-protection is informed by years of first-hand accounts of misuse.

There are some warning labels, though, that society has collectively given a big, exaggerated, stroking hand gesture to, presumably accompanied by a “Pfft!” sound and a scrunched up face that looks like the physical manifestation of the sound “Pfft!”

These are those labels.

“Do Not Put Swab In Ear Canal”

Immediately after a nice shower, there’s nothing more soothing than a Q-Tip in the ear. When I was a kid, I used to swab by ears for a minute or two each, and not because I was a clean freak. I genuinely loved – LOVED! – the feeling of the cotton swab in my ear. It was like a massage for the inside of my head. It would send chills down my spine and give me goosebumps. I could have been lulled to sleep with the gentle rotating motions of a Q-Tip in my ear.

It turns out that I, and perhaps everyone on earth with access to Q-Tips, have been using them incorrectly. You’ve probably never noticed it, but right there, clear as day on the side of a box of Q-Tips, are these words: “WARNING: Do Not Put Swab In Ear Canal.”

This was so baffling that I had to look up exactly what an ear canal was just to make sure it wasn’t what I was 100% certain it is. I was correct. The ear canal is the part of your ear that a Q-Tip would normally go into. It’s not anywhere near the genitals; it’s not an important part of the heart; and it’s not a part of the ear buried so deep within your head that if you glanced it with a cotton swab you’d lose all memory of the 7th grade. It’s one of the many parts of your head you routinely shove something into without a moment of hesitation and rarely have you incurred any damage. And outside of dabbing some Neosporin on a cut or cleaning between keyboard keys, the only time a Q-Tip is used is when you shove it in the ear canal because that’s exactly what it’s used for. It’s never been marketed as anything other than a way to clean out your head.

Yet, there it is; a warning telling you that you’ve been wrong forever.

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