Not Recommended for Flotation

I was recently swayed by a news story about a water bottle that keeps cold liquids cool and hot liquids warm from a company based in Oregon and bought one.

Problem is the bottle has to remain upright or it pools in my purse.

I returned home with a damp purse and had to dry my wallet and paper money by the fire.

Getting ready to return the leaky bottle, I read through the company literature and found this statement:

“Not recommended for use as a flotation device.”


Does that mean if I’m a passenger on an airplane that has an ocean landing that I can’t use my 8-ounce water flask as a life-saving buoy?

Does the statement from the manufacturer anticipate a lawsuit? I can see a stand-up comedian having fun with the warning label.

I could devote a whole show to describing labels.

Reminds me of the label on a candy decoration I use for Christmas cookies. My mother baked cookies each year and gave away treats to school teachers, neighbors, postal carriers, the milkman, the butcher—anyone within her vortex.

She would garnish home-made sugar cookies with dried fruit, nuts or M&Ms (called Smarties in England).

My attempts to replicate her good works pale in comparison. One year I searched and searched Portland for the tiny silver balls—called dragées in French from the Greek Tragemata (for sweet, according to Wikipedia)—that mama used to place on top of cookies.

She used the silver balls for gingermen and gingerwomen’s eyes or Santa’s nose.

I was delighted to find the dragées at an upscale grocery store in the hip Northwest and read the bottle, curious to discover who makes the treats and why they were so hard to find.

The label says that the “3.3 ounce” jar of “multi-pastels” that “add an elegant touch to cakes and cookies” and are made by a company devoted to “gourmet spices and specialties.”

And the dragées?

“For decoration only.”


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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3 Responses to Not Recommended for Flotation

  1. Russ L says:

    Ironically funny!


  2. So I guess we could look at the cookies you baked but not eat them. Too funny.

    I love the bottle label commentary, very amusing!

    Back in the good old days (which weren’t so much good as they were old) I had a thermos which was metal on the outside, and the inside had a glass insert… because apparently back in the good old days glass shards in your milk wasn’t a hazard for children.

    In any case, these thermi (plural of thermos?) often broke when you were getting beat up for your lunch money, or you know…getting mugged for whatever was in the thermos. After the glass broke the thermos was only good as a projectile weapon to be thrown at your attacker enough to surprise them so you could run away.

    You’d think that we, as an advanced nation of scientifict innovators, would have figured out how to overcome the problem of keeping cold liquids cold and hot ones hot!


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