Jul 13, 2012

These declining times

I am attempting to sneak this wee blog post back into the months-long stream of blogging slackness, in hopes no one will notice I left the bride and groom hanging in pre-nuptial tension. I will return and get them married, I promise. That long-delayed post has been waiting in the wings of 'must do it right, no time to do it now, will do it later' procrastinativeness for 2 months now. Sorry, Andy and Ros!

In the meantime, I will slip in a brief commentary on what my MIL would label a sign of 'these declining times'. Here is a recent purchase from the hardware store:

Just a common sprinkler, known in our household as a 'kachinga', for the sound it makes as it shoots out jets of water, interrupted by a little bar thingy. Common as dirt, its design and function simple yet effective for basic watering of lawn or a large garden area. This one came on a cardboard card, attached with a simple yet fiendlishly difficult-to-cut zippie tie, and out of curiosity I looked at the back of the card for the instructions.

Now for the declining times part. Instead of instructions for hose diameter or a reminder to make sure the gasket was included, or even 'attach to hose', I found this information.

* easily repair existing sprinklers
* waters up to 85' (26 m) diameter circle

Good to know I can use it to repair an existing sprinkler, though I don't have one -- that's why I bought this one. The diameter of water output is good too. I notice they put the pesky metric measurement in parentheses -- a nod to the stubbornness of the American public which refuses to use the metric system, and good for us, too, I say.

But then come the weird cautions:

1. Intended for outdoor use only.

Huh. Damn, I was planning to set it up in the living room......?

2. Severe electrical shock could result if water is sprayed into outlets or sources of electrical current.

Bummer again. There goes my plan to shoot the sprinkler into my electric sockets around the place.

3. Do not use water over 115 F (46 C).

There goes my last plan to water my garden with scalding hot water -- presumably to kill it.

Though the sprinkler itself is made in China (where else), the company is obviously in the good old, litigious US of A. This reminds me of the last time we bought a new washing machine, 20 or so years ago. The same corporate mindset of protecting itself against the possibility of all kinds of frivolous lawsuits apparently made it necessary for the warning, painted on the enamel underside of the lid, against filling the washer with gasoline.

It's hard to imagine anyone doing such a thing, but it must have happened, and maybe Whirlpool or GE got sued because they hadn't imagined anyone would try such a thing. Declining times, indeed. Still, I will probably take my boring, unimaginative self out and hook up the sprinkler to a boring old hose and water the yard in the time-honored way -- with cold water, outdoors, away from the house (and all potential electrocutional hazards). Let's hope it works.


  1. Never underestimate the immense stupidity of the American public and the willingness of their attorneys to sue! Welcome back to blogland. I've missed you.

  2. My all-time favorite lawsuit was one I incredulously read about years ago. A burglar intent on breaking into a school fell through a skylight, then successfully sued the school for his injuries incurred when he hit the floor and cut himself on the broken glass.

  3. PS I like the way you picked up a Scots accent while you were visiting... (wee blog post)....

  4. I don't know I was just thinking a Kachinga hooked up in the kitchen sink may be the only way to make a dent in my stack of dishes. ;-)