May Contain Nuts

Human civilisation has reached a point where it cannot survive without putting nuts into everything, which of course is terrible news if you have an allergy to nuts. And in our attempts to reconcile our nut frenzy with our nut allergies we place warning signs on everything from coffee bags to vacuum cleaners: may contain nuts.

What puzzles me is not the fact that the words ‘may contain nuts’ appear on packets of nuts, but that the warning isn’t more conclusive. May contain nuts? What if you have one of the safe packets of nuts that doesn’t contain nuts? A real Kafkaesque existential nightmare arises.

My favourite warning sign is the one sometimes found on DVDs: contains scenes of mild peril. Forget the Pythonesque use of the word peril and consider the poor souls who need warning that the film they’re about to watch contains mild peril. Not full-on full blown in-your-face peril, but only mild peril.

nuts explosion
The perils of an incorrectly lit gas fire.

How in god’s name do these people cope with the real world? The possibility of lighting a gas fire and wiping out half the town in a cataclysmic explosion must keep them awake at night. Everything about daily life becomes a potentially fatal threat.

There are some warning signs that do serve a purpose. Wet floor, high voltage, fast moving tides, but in Britain has anyone ever driven past a falling rocks roadsign and been hit by falling rocks? Do the people scared by scenes of mild peril alter their travel plans when they see a falling rock sign?

There has been some discussion recently about students complaining about lectures and presentations which contained scenes more disturbing than the ones of mild peril, and have threatened to sue the college or university. They now demand a pre-warning that, for example, lectures on the Rwandan genocide might contain details of a disturbing or distressing nature. The fact that they don’t have the wit or intelligence to figure out for themselves that a subject may be inherently distressing is probably the reason why we need so many warning signs; to protect the stupid from their own stupidity.nuts falling rocks

It’s only a matter of time before an author and their publishers are sued by some traumatised flower still reeling from the mild perils of the previous night’s film and then hit with the triple whammy of a vampire victim bleeding blood, swearing and blaspheming, their head swelling to the size of a pumpkin because the vampire who bit them had been gorging on pistachios, and none of it forewarned on the book’s cover. The wording would probably say: ‘This novel contains characters who are absolute c***s. Do not read if you are easily offended, outraged, distressed, disturbed, rendered speechless or generally forced to go to the foot of your stairs at the slightest provocation.’

Tipper Gore would turn in her grave.

And while we’re at it, one final point I have to ask. Why do food manufacturers insist on putting nuts in everything?

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18 thoughts on “May Contain Nuts

  1. The most disturbing sign I’ve ever seen – on a backroad in the Scottish Highlands – said “Slow Children”. That was really spooky.
    “Heavy plant crossing” never fails to make me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a permanent warning sign on the outskirts of Barrow which simply says ICE. People are so used
        to it that on the five or six days a year it actually becomes applicable they take no notice whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I never noticed the nut thing until my son came along with a peanut and tree nut allergy. Prior to that I was trying to figure out why everything had cheese on it. Then why everything was stuffed with bacon. Rarely see warnings about those though. I forgot what the TV warning was that had my wife and I laughing. Think it was ‘possible nudity’ or ‘loud language’. Something utterly ridiculous.

    Part of me is not surprised about the college student thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We need warnings for allergies, but nuts are nuts, no need to tell us there are nuts inside a packet of nuts.

      Loud language warnings are a new one. I’ll have to look out for those. Wonder if there’s a mildly loud language warning…


  3. The other day I saw a photograph someone had taken in a supermarket and posted on Facebook. It showed a badly hand written sign which said, and I quote: ‘Do not touch yourself. Instead, please ask a member of staff who will be happy to oblige.’ If that doesn’t show how completely ridiculous this whole health and safety nonsense has become, nothing will Chris. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were lucky to get the nuts with an unequivocal warning. It’s only a matter of time before the ‘may contain nuts’ is challenged in court for spreading confusion and causing anxiety. It’s nothing shrt of Russian roulette.

      And yes, it all comes down to litigation. On the subject of films again, the message on a DVD before a film starts: the views expressed in this interview are not endorsed by Sony/Fox/Whoever made this film. As if I give a ****

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of mild peril myself. I start imagining old ladies knitting too close to overhead wires, that sort of thing. I think you hit the nail on the head with the need for new warnings, though. Joking aside, I’d desperately like to see the one for the easily offended. I’d put it on everything. Including yoghurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One day I’m going to watch one of these perilous films and see if it has an adverse effect on me. It makes you wonder where mild peril becomes moderate peril: the old lady under the overhead wires changes her plastic knitting needles for steel ones…

      And as for new warning signs, I’d put one on Stilton that says ‘this cheese hates you.’

      Liked by 1 person

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