Like many people, I am a bit of a sucker for reading ‘Instructions for life’. You know the kind of thing I am talking about. They usually include things like being kind to yourself, trying new things and being kind to others. The other day I read a list which included having some lemony water every morning before breakfast. I’m not sure exactly what that does to your body, but I’m guessing it wakes up your mouth.
Instructions are very appealing. Just being called ‘instructions’ gives them a level of importance and authority. They are much more impressive than mere suggestions . The underlying message is that you just need to do exactly as you are told and all will be well.
So I was quite puzzled by the instructions printed on a new garment I purchased today, which read “Think climate cold wash and line dry”. I misinterpreted this to mean that in a cold climate, one should wash and line dry the item, when of course it was actually an instruction to use cold water and a washing line instead of using hot water and a dryer.
I know that not many people would have misread this instruction, but it did make me laugh when I realised my mistake. I also know that a simple hyphen would probably have helped.