Everyone who shoots with a digital camera has seen some sort of little symbol on the screen of the camera that alerts them to a low battery. It might be a graphic shape of an AA-size battery with half or 2/3 of it blanked out. It might be a percentage. It might just be a flashing text message – whichever method is chosen the idea is to alert you to change or charge before too long.
Would that we could also have this sort of warning on lots of other things:
1. A small red paper sticker placed in detective novels to alert us to the upcoming death of a main character. Three pages ahead should be enough warning.
2. A small graphic representation of a horse bun that would be projected on the television screen during speeches by presidents, premiers, or prime ministers. One horse bun for an ordinary fib, two for a serious lie, and three for a whopper. Probably isn’t necessary to have the turds blink, though if this could be done cheaply it might look nice.
3. Use-by dates on fashion clothing. And someone who is prepared to remove the old stock from the shelves after they pass it. Also to go out in the street and remove the garments from those who wear them past this same date. It might leave a few people running home naked but the effect on society will be good in the end.
4. Orange warning labels on hand grenades and land mines to indicate that they have been detonated.
5. Use This End warning labels for spoons and forks.
6. GRAVITY AT WORK signs at the top of large buildings. This would eliminate the need for expensive railings or plastic panels at the edge of skyscrapers while absolving the holding companies who own the buildings of all responsibility. DUCK signs should be put at the bottom of the same buildings, particularly when the stock market falls.
7. Thumbtacks should be driven into the soles of thongs and other flimsy footwear from the bottom. As the rubber of the flip-flop wears away the thumbtack is forced into the foot – the subsequent pain alerts the wearer to the need to buy new thongs.
8. Each person should be compelled to wear an electronic badge visible from the front of their garment with an LCD display. The badge would be linked by wifi to their bank and/or nominated financial institution, which would send their current worth to the display. Thus people could tell whether the seemingly rich individual with which they were dealing really did have a brass razoo or whether they were merely straw figures and not worth a penny. Conversely, when the misers of the world tried to chisel discounts and freebies everywhere they could be shown up for the frauds that they really are.
9. Lepers and plague carriers were once required to go about with bells to alert others to the danger of their presence. Bells are annoying but locked collars with flashing LED lights are quite quiet. Just who to clamp them to remains the question – I am personally for using them on conspiracy theorists and real estate agents, but others may wish to apportion them differently.
10. Few telephone conversations that are preceded by 8 seconds of hissing silence are ever good, useful, or honest. Our phones should be equipped with an automatic circuit breaker that operates when it hears this sort of thing. For every message about Timmy falling down a well that may be missed, 100 Indian tele-frauds will be silenced. It is a ratio I am prepared to risk.