Need directions? Not the GPS, geographical type. No. This kind of thing:

“Shave immediately after showering or gently rub shave area with warm water for 30 seconds. Massage an almond-sized dollop [of the product] onto wet skin until a light lather forms. Add water as needed.”

Maybe it is the circumstance of being semiretired, with extra time on my hands, that has made me notice the abundance of guidance offered on various merchandise and gizmos, much of it gratuitous. Been shaving for roughly 60 years, and it never occurred to seek that sort of instruction.

I am a male person, and therefore fully aware of the cliché that men don’t ask directions; that, if we are lost, asking for directions is like admitting defeat. But sweeping generalizations — in general — are not absolute truths. Besides, is it really necessary to read on the bottle of windshield washer fluid, “Pour directly into car’s windshield washer reservoir”?

Here’s one for liquid hand soap: “Pump into hands, wet as needed. Lather vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Wash skin, rinse thoroughly and dry.”

Pretty obvious, no? And how about pill bottles that order, “Take one tablet by mouth daily.” By mouth? What would be the other options?

And how about the detail on putting laundry stain remover to use? “1, turn to ON. 2, cover the stain with [the product] and rub in. To refill, unscrew cap and pour liquid into bottle.”

That certainly is specific. As opposed this kind of thing: “Apply as needed.” Or: “Season to taste.”

Should we suspect that, in many cases, the manufacturer is endeavoring to avert future accusations of policy error or wrongdoing (and possibly legal action) by deflecting responsibility in advance? Something between due diligence and plausible deniability?

Given our litigious culture, posting alerts of potential danger might be understandable. “Keep out of reach of children and pets.” And: “Avoid breathing vapors” on a can of fire extinguisher. On a container of paint stripper: “Wear chemical-resistant gloves and chemical splash goggles.”

The more mature among us can remember, in the days when too many people smoked cigarettes and a popular advertising giveaway was the matchbook, there was the thoroughly predictable alert, “Close cover before striking.”

In terms of words-to-the-wise warnings, my favorite is the sly paragraph on the first page of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. By order of the author, per G.G., Chief of Ordinance.”

So. Here I will admit I did not read any of the 358 pages in my car owner’s manual until I had to figure out how to input the correct tire pressure into the car’s computer, or how to set the clock to daylight saving time. (Took a while to zero in on the right pages of the manual.) The car came with an additional 30-page booklet of tips about the “infotainment” system and the phone interface. I just pushed various buttons until things worked out.

So, yes, I’m a guy. And the maker of my hair shampoo understands. On the bottle, under “Directions,” is: “It is presumed you don’t need directions to use this product.”

I leave you with this: Shake well.

Need directions? Not the GPS, geographical type. No. This kind of thing:

“Shave immediately after showering or gently rub shave area with warm water for 30 seconds. Massage an almond-sized dollop [of the product] onto wet skin until a light lather forms. Add water as needed.”

Maybe it is the circumstance of being semiretired, with extra time on my hands, that has made me notice the abundance of guidance offered on various merchandise and gizmos, much of it gratuitous. Been shaving for roughly 60 years, and it never occurred to seek that sort of instruction.

I am a male person, and therefore fully aware of the cliché that men don’t ask directions; that, if we are lost, asking for directions is like admitting defeat. But sweeping generalizations — in general — are not absolute truths. Besides, is it really necessary to read on the bottle of windshield washer fluid, “Pour directly into car’s windshield washer reservoir”?

Here’s one for liquid hand soap: “Pump into hands, wet as needed. Lather vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Wash skin, rinse thoroughly and dry.”

Pretty obvious, no? And how about pill bottles that order, “Take one tablet by mouth daily.” By mouth? What would be the other options?

And how about the detail on putting laundry stain remover to use? “1, turn to ON. 2, cover the stain with [the product] and rub in. To refill, unscrew cap and pour liquid into bottle.”

That certainly is specific. As opposed this kind of thing: “Apply as needed.” Or: “Season to taste.”

Should we suspect that, in many cases, the manufacturer is endeavoring to avert future accusations of policy error or wrongdoing (and possibly legal action) by deflecting responsibility in advance? Something between due diligence and plausible deniability?

Given our litigious culture, posting alerts of potential danger might be understandable. “Keep out of reach of children and pets.” And: “Avoid breathing vapors” on a can of fire extinguisher. On a container of paint stripper: “Wear chemical-resistant gloves and chemical splash goggles.”

The more mature among us can remember, in the days when too many people smoked cigarettes and a popular advertising giveaway was the matchbook, there was the thoroughly predictable alert, “Close cover before striking.”

In terms of words-to-the-wise warnings, my favorite is the sly paragraph on the first page of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. By order of the author, per G.G., Chief of Ordinance.”

So. Here I will admit I did not read any of the 358 pages in my car owner’s manual until I had to figure out how to input the correct tire pressure into the car’s computer, or how to set the clock to daylight saving time. (Took a while to zero in on the right pages of the manual.) The car came with an additional 30-page booklet of tips about the “infotainment” system and the phone interface. I just pushed various buttons until things worked out.

So, yes, I’m a guy. And the maker of my hair shampoo understands. On the bottle, under “Directions,” is: “It is presumed you don’t need directions to use this product.”

I leave you with this: Shake well.

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