I recently had the delight of buying a new laptop. Being a conscientious owner, I decided to read all the accompanying manuals, lest my ignorance result in the destruction of my computer, the loss of all my files, or the appending of my signature to a user agreement allowing Samsung to harvest all my organs.
At this point it is impossible for me to say whether beginning with the Safety Manual was a good or bad decision.
The Safety Manual is full of sentences like the following (which, in the great tradition of Dave Barry, I assure you I am not making up):
Do not use the computer in a badly ventilated location such as on bedding…If the vents are blocked, the computer may overheat and it may cause a computer problem, or even explosion.
If you put the computer into your bag without turning it off, the computer may overheat and there is a danger of fire.
Do not hold the mouse with excessive force. [Oo-er!]
Do not place your face close to the Optical Disk Drive tray when it is operating. There is a danger of injury due to an abrupt ejection. [Erlack! how awkward]
Use only a battery authorized by Samsung Electronics; failing to do so may cause an explosion.
There are a full 46 warnings that electric shock or a fire may result from misuse of the laptop, but they have the unfortunate effect of making me rather curious about how blocked the vents must be before combustion ensues. There are only two considerations that keep me from emulating Dave Barry further by substituting a computer in a re-creation of his famous Pop-Tart experiment (meaning, of course, that I’d shove a Pop-Tart into the CD drive and see how long it’d take until there were Tarts Afire):
1. I’d really rather eat the Pop-Tarts; and
2. Having failed to set Niedfeldt on fire after putting my computer in my bag without first shutting it down for about half a year, I am convinced that the Samsung manual writers are a teensy bit bored and are driven to massive feats of hyberbole to amuse themselves. That, or there must be unflinching predictions of doom to satisfy the legal side of the Samsung Corporation, not unlike Harry and Ron’s homework for Trelawney.
But there may come a day when my convictions waver and my lust for Pop-Tarts wanes, and on that day I shall not be dissuaded from making Bad Operating Decisions. Therefore, instead of dangling the tantalizing possibility of there being fiery explosions, they ought to give out a sort of modern-day Struwwelpeter with each machine:
Lisa-Maria did not use a desk
Nor turn off her laptop when eager to rest;
She stacked it with papers, and left in the cords
to iPod and camera where data was stored.
If she moved it, she failed to turn off the power –
I’d swear it played music right next to her shower!
Till one day the lappy decided “Enough
of submitting to treatment so careless and rough!”
Lisa-Maria had nary a clue
of what would occur when her screen became blue.
She tried to shut down, but it wouldn’t react,
save in shocking her thumb. When she jerked her hand back,
The sparks flew out at her, at eyes and at neck,
At the owner so utterly lacking in feck.
The sparks did not cease, but all of the wires
Burst out of a sudden into manifold fires.
Lisa-Maria was burnt to a crisp
Naught left of her clothing, her hair but a wisp,
Her skin all gone bubbly and flaky and charred,
Her blood boiled so hot, her fat rendered as lard.
When the laptop revenged her for usage so mean,
It created a less than enjoyable scene.
So bide by the rules that ol’ Samsung gave you
If you die, it’s not our fault, so we can’t be sued.