Idle Thoughts from Mt. Was
Pour here...
by Ollie Harris
Feb 14, 2013 | 337 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I paid a dollar for an old medicine bottle in a thrift store in St. Johns, Ariz., the other day, cork stopper and all. The bottle is just under 6 inches tall and, according to the embossing, holds four ounces.

I might not have purchased the old bottle except for the embossing. On the front of the bottle, along the left edge, in half-ounce increments, were marking up to four ounces. The right edge was marked in cubic centimeters.

I was a bit intrigued to see an old bottle marked with cubic centimeters. I suppose it was a sort of affectation, an attempt at sophistication to make the contents seem more scientifically based.

If this had been all there was to it, I might not have purchased the old bottle. But, near the top, where the bottle began to narrow into the neck, there was an embossed arrow pointing upwards toward the opening and the words, “Pour Here.” That, and it was only a dollar.

It has been five days since the purchase and I am still at a loss as to why there would be embossed instructions directing the user how to pour the contents out of the bottle, with a pointing arrow, no less. Who made such a decision? What were they thinking? There is the insinuation that the designer considered the user to suffer an astounding degree of ineptitude. If this is so, why doesn’t the embossing include, “remove cork?”

I recognize that I am making too big a deal out of this, but it strikes a chord with me. I admit to being too sensitive about being told what to do, especially something as obvious as “pour here.”

An example comes to mind. We had a couple come to visit us for a few days and I was searching for something to keep them occupied. I had previously scoped out a nice Ponderosa log and thought that getting a load of wood would keep them busy.

We went out onto the mountain, wheeled the truck around and backed the trailer up to the log. I fired up the saw and approached the log. The man pointed to a spot and said, “Cut here.” Now, I don’t know how many cords of wood I have hauled from the mountain, but maybe hundreds. Being told to “cut here” was a lot like being told to “pour here.”

After being told where to cut three or four times, I gave him a look of exasperation and spoke his name. He raised his hands in a conciliatory manner and backed away from the log.

Later, when the trailer was loaded, I found that the trailer tailgate would not close. A half-round of wood stuck out a little too far. I put the heels of my hands beneath the half-round to lift it onto its edge. As I was in the act of lifting he said, “Flip in on its edge.” It was a “pour here” moment.

The day I bought the old bottle was an almost perfect day. We passed a highway sign that said the elevation was 7,000 feet. The car thermometer said it was 60 degrees. We stopped in thrift stores in Concho, St. Johns, and Springerville. I bought three or four books, including one that I had been looking for for some time. By then we were hungry and went to Booga Red’s. I ordered the Mexican pizza. It was definitely a 10 on the 1-to-10 scale.

And, I discovered a label for those times when I am told to do some obvious thing. They will hereafter be known as “pour here” moments.


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