Warning: Nintendo Wii will punish the weak.
Warning: Nintendo Wii will break the hearts of the pathetic.
Warning: Nintendo Wii will not play Jedi with you.
Manuals have to be the least-read pieces of text in the world. Whether it's the safety handbook that came with your margarita machine or the "How To Wear Your Uniform" booklet your Taco Bell manager gave you during orientation, odds are it went right into the trash without a second glance. And that's too bad, because it turns out they are often f**king insane.
Most safety manuals are for idiots and people who turn non-sex toys into sex toys. They're mostly dull necessities to prevent lawsuits. However, the Nintendo Wii's Japanese safety manual is a lovingly illustrated adventure, starring the console as it discovers all the ways it can kill or be killed.
The detail they put into showing you the dangers of the Nintendo Wii is truly amazing. It exists in a world in which every consumer owns dozens of electronic devices, yet they still went to these lengths to tell you not to smash it, fill it with fluids, or jam your fingers into it.
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Professional athletes are never off the clock. Whether they are on the field, in the press room, or leading the cops on a high-speed chase, they are representing their team at all times. In return, the team pays them well and keeps their brain damage a secret. Cheerleaders -- NFL or otherwise -- are no exception to this scrutiny. Thus, most teams have a book of guidelines for cheerleaders that read like they come from antiquated finishing schools. The guidelines include rules on how to behave in public, how to accessorize, and how to keep one's genitals free of infection. We are not joking about any of those.
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For instance, in their handbook, the Bills' cheerleaders (the *ugh* Jills) are told in excruciating detail how and when to put in a tampon. It tells them what size they need to get, and how to clean their vaginas afterwards. It's almost as if the organization recruits their cheer squad from a talent pool of girls who spent the last six years screaming, "Blood!? Blood! Why!?" from forgotten prison cells:
12. When menstruating, use a product that's right for your menstrual flow. A tampon too big can irritate and develop fungus. A product left in too long can cause bacteria or fungus buildup. Products can be changed at least every four hours. Except when sleeping, they can be left in for the night.
Besides the impossible number of menstruation tips, the ... sigh ... "Jills" have 15 "glamour requirements" that forbid tattoos, two-toned hair, trendy roots, non-ear piercings, and penciled-on eyebrows. And if you're going to wear hair extensions, no one had better goddamn see those hair extensions. It sounds like being a Jill is about as demeaning as sitting on pudding for webcam subscribers -- and it pays way, way less.
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The guide gives tips on addressing the handicapped, table etiquette, and changing your underpants after a workout. And unless you were raised by wolves without books or television, it wobbles between obvious and insulting:
14. Do not be overly opinionated about anything. Do not complain about anything -- ever hang out with a whiner? It's exhausting and boring.
13. Clean/rinse razor often while shaving. Especially after going to a new "area." Change razors often, they harbor bacteria.
16. Wash your feet daily! This will help control foot odor & keep fungus from developing in toenails. Cotton socks also help with odor. Nylons and nylon socks create sweaty feet which creates odor.
3. When trying to "capture" a small piece of food onto a utensil, it is acceptable to use another utensil for aiding it aboard. Never use your fingers.
Get it together, ladies! This is the NFL you're representing here.
Abercrombie & Fitch
It's no great secret that under CEO Michael Jeffries, the Abercrombie & Fitch corporate culture was, to put it mildly, a nightmarish cavalcade of sociopathic superficiality that built a fashion empire on misery and oppression. So maybe it's no surprise that while on board the corporate jet, Jeffries forced his employees to adhere to 47 pages of creepily specific rules.
His company's aircraft manual included instructions on how the stewards needed to dress, down to the exact button and type of underwear. It also required them to "spritz their uniforms with Abercrombie & Fitch 41 cologne upon arrival ... and throughout the duration of the shift." There is so much cologne on an Abercrombie & Fitch flight attendant that the ionosphere now smells like a frat party.
Abercrombie & Fitch
The manual spends as much time telling the staff how to dress, walk, and speak as it does on how to keep the plane functioning. We only know this because the manual became famous after it was submitted as evidence in a lawsuit against Jeffries. He fired a 38-year-old pilot for being too old, and this manual made that outlandish claim seem completely reasonable. Throughout the text, there are a bunch of rules that make it painfully clear that Jeffries doesn't regard his staff as living, breathing human beings. Or at least, not adult human beings -- rules forbid everything from touching the silverware with their bare hands, to wearing a coat unless it's below 50 degrees.
Abercrombie & Fitch
It's bizarrely, pointlessly evil. For instance, the crew can't eat hot meals if the passenger has chosen the cold option, and they can't eat at all unless the flight is longer than two hours. And to make matters worse -- maybe even worst -- Jeffries dictated that every flight back to his estate must play the song "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins. Coincidentally, that last sentence was the top answer to Hell Family Feud's survey, "Name something even The Devil wouldn't do."
Do you ever wonder how many health and safety codes Will Smith violates when he opens a UFO and welcomes an alien to Earf with a barehanded punch? Probably not. So it's a good thing that America's fire departments have just the book to deal with that situation: the Fire Officer's Guide to Disaster Control.
Fire Engineering Books
Amid hundreds of pages of useful, proven techniques to increase public safety, there suddenly comes "Chapter 13: Enemy Attack and UFO Potential." It features a section called, "The UFO Threat -- A Fact," and another one called, "Adverse Potential of UFOs." Thirteen pages of this official safety protocol manual are dedicated to dealing with alien attacks, which is exactly 13 more than a reader would normally expect.
The authors, Dr. Michael Kramer and Charles Bahme, are both retired fire chiefs, and they put their heads together to develop the best ways to deal with time distortions, force fields, and telepathy -- or what emergency responders refer to as "f**king what!?"
And no, this was not inserted as a funny joke to see if FEMA actually reads material before distributing it. This is a clinical guide to foiling space troubles. For instance, if an alien race has crashed into a corn field, the guidebook advises you to approach the vessel with happy, cooperative thoughts and let them telepathically tell you how best to aid their recovery. That's the book's brilliant plan: Hope that the hypothetical aliens magically send instructions into your brain. It's almost as if the reader could have figured that out without this humiliatingly stupid, imaginary thing being added to a book about saving real lives.
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It's strange for racism to show up in a corporate training doc*ment in a section specifically designed to prevent racism, but prejudice can be sneaky like that. You can reveal weird assumptions you hold about groups even when you're trying to be nice. For instance, in a Target manual on cultural sensitivity, they explain to their employees that Latinos are just like you and me. If you're wondering what they mean by that, here are some fun Target facts about Latinos:
a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos;
b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa;
c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero;
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These seem like questions Donald Trump would use in a mock Presidential debate, but they were in fact used to train Target employees to be less racist. And just to see if it worked, close your eyes and imagine meeting a Latino. There he is, meeting you. Now, open your eyes and look six inches up. That Latino is not standing under a sombrero. Oh, did we blow your mind? Congratulations, you're a racist.
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The doc*ment goes on to explain how Latinos probably don't speak English and might only be saying "OK, OK" to avoid embarrassment. They don't really know what the hell you're talking about. And remember what you learned about their food? It's possible that right now, their body is zero percent burrito. ZERO PERCENT. We hope it hurts to unravel everything you thought you knew, you racist.
To be clear, technically everything the manual says is true. "Latinos don't all dance to salsa" is true, in the same way that it's true that not every Target executive goes into their stores and has sex with the pillows each night. In other words, it's not that the executives are racist, but that they think their store managers absolutely are.
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The manual was obviously a PR nightmare, and the ironic thing is that the world only found out about the doc*ment after three Hispanic employees were fired by a racist manager and sued the company. The best part is the reason for which they were fired: They complained about the racism in this exact doc*ment. Let's hope Target learns from this experience and adds "suing your boss for racism" to the list of things not done by every Latino.
Unlike the Buffalo Bills, not every corporation can afford to hire Mary Poppins to write an in-house employee handbook on table manners and vagina maintenance. That's why many companies outsource the job to places that deal exclusively with training guides. Jhana is one of the leading online employee training services, and is used by such corporate giants as Google and Ask.com. One of their major selling points is that they offer a weekly digest of new entries to its ever-expanding library of employee manuals. Every time a genius douchebag invents an all-new way to describe his co-worker's heaving breasts, Jhana works to add an entry about why it's harmful to the workplace environment.
Unfortunately, nothing screws up a system like humans. And some of Jhana's "educators" seem to have a very antiquated approach to dealing with harassment in the workplace. For instance, an entry called "What if a male colleague gets the wrong idea?" implies that if a woman dresses modern, makes jokes, has a girlish voice, or smiles at a man, she should expect him to come lunging at her penis-first. Here's an excerpt:
Be consistent and consistently genuine. If you act the same way -- always professional, but also always like yourself -- around everyone, the problematic colleague will be less likely to get the idea that you're coming on to him.
We don't have any Aristotelian scholars on staff, but we are almost positive this isn't logic. If you treat problematic colleagues exactly how you would non-problematic colleagues, that only takes away their problem if you are the source of it. Which would mean that this guide is only useful for women who want to be sexually harassed, so preventing it would be paradoxically the exact thing they didn't want. You add a robot to this paragraph, and you have yourself a s**tty Terminator sequel.
Here's some more great advice from the same guide:
In a perfect world, women would feel free to dress however they want without being stigmatized for it. But know that revealing clothing and certain verbal tics, such as ending statements with an upward inflection in your voice or struggling to accept a compliment, can affect others' ability to take you seriously.
That's right: Any woman who struggles with compliments and has upward inflections in her voice deserves everything she gets and more. The article even goes full survival bunker toward the end, advising women to avoid one-on-one situations with anyone carrying compatible genitals and to always travel in packs. It's advice you'd give a woman auditioning for a swimsuit calendar shoot she saw on Craigslist, not to an account executive who laughs too invitingly at jokes.
Insanity often turns up in the most unassuming of places. Like Trey Parker's long-standing grudge with an ex that he reveals on some DVD bonus content. Read about it in 5 Hilariously Awkward Meltdowns Hidden on DVD Commentaries. Or all the terrible lessons lurking in kids' books. See what we mean in 5 Classic Children's Books With Horrible Hidden Messages.
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The flow of time is cruel to us all.