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12/28/05 Construction
12/15/05 Tribute Band
12/14/05 Jury Duty
11/14/05 Liability
10/20/05 Cheapskate
10/10/05 Gift-Giving
10/05/05 Camping
10/04/05 Boxing
09/08/05 Massage
08/22/05 Green Thumb
08/03/05 Poison Oak


At the beach I found a sign that reads, Warning: Ocean hazardous. City not responsible for damage or injury.

And at that moment I turned to the sky and cried, "Scotty, beam me up. I can't take it anymore."

This country is divided into Haves and Have-Nots: Those who have a lawsuit and those who have not found theirs. Welcome to the United Suits of America.

Each morning I wake up to a truck that beeps -- amazingly like my alarm clock -- every time it goes backward. Every time. No matter what.

"Well, that's for safety reasons," said my wife.

"No!" I gasped, covering my mouth. "You're one of them."

Seriously, the beeping is a nice addition to our car alarms, leaf blowers, jackhammers, motorized scooters, walkie-talkie cell phones, and low-flying recreational aircraft. Every year beeping trucks save the lives of countless victims, a triumph over Darwinism.

My local playground is surrounded by oak trees whose branches swoop over the footpath. It would be downright charming if they would remove THE RED CAUTION TAPE. Can you believe that in some parts of the world people still have to watch where they're going?

You can't blame the city for moron-proofing the park. They're protecting themselves from the people who, in lieu of working, scour the streets for open manholes and low-lying oak branches. My friend George missed work for three months with -- and please excuse the medical jargon -- a "funky back." His pain was so severe that it nearly kept him out of our softball lineup.

If you follow the bear on the unicycle, he will lead you to the center of the liability universe: human resources. As we speak, HR robots are finding new slip-and-fall hazards and reprinting company manuals whose corners have already been rounded. Addendums are being made to appendices. Stairways are being shut down.

"Your honor, because there was no sign, my client walked straight into a flight of stairs -- cement blocks rising out of the ground!"

By year's end, HR hopes to mandate OSHA-compliant astronaut suits for all corporate employees. So it goes.

Here is a grab bag of actual, real life warning labels:

  • On a sled: May develop high speed under certain snow conditions.
  • On a vertical CD rack: Please do not use as a ladder.
  • On a box of sleeping aids: May cause drowsiness.
  • On a household iron: Never iron clothes while they're being worn.
  • On a fruit roll-up: Remove plastic before eating.

And I turn back to the sky ... "No, seriously, Scotty. Beam me up."

You will be pleased to hear that the scalded woman who sued McDonald's for $3 million has fully recovered. According to her lawyer, who already has a plot in hell, "the money was certainly a big help."

I myself am a Have-Not. I'm looking for my lawsuit, but all the good ones are taken. Prisoners have sued for flatulence; airline passengers have sued for turbulence; a diabetic once sued Pepsi for not posting sugar warnings on its bottle (good thing for their wetness label).

And we mustn't forget Bob Dougherty, who sued Home Depot when he was, by a prankster, glued to a toilet in their bathroom.

As he told reporters, "They just left me there to rot."

Bob "Sticky Bottom" Dougherty sued for six figures. He must have come unglued.

The only thing left for me is to charge the government with making me wholly unaccountable for my actions.

"Your honor, I can't even get ready for work without instructions. This morning I accidentally flushed my head down the toilet."

The jury, of course, will be lost in the trapeze act and give me everything I want; and on that glorious day I will back away from the courthouse with a truckload of the American Dream, and have a last: beep, beep, beep, beep.


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