I have found myself to be partial to the habit of random label reading. At first, I thought it was just a phase that everyone goes through as a child. The adults always seemed to be sure that nearly everything any child did was a cute phase. I remember sitting in the bathtub reading the backs of bottles of shampoo, wondering what Cocamidopropyl Betainericinoleamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate really was, and if it could be a bad idea to leave conditioner in one's hair for longer than the recommended 3 minutes. Boxes of cereal also held a similar facination. I was not the sort of child to be deluded into believing that Grape Nuts really contained grapes, or nuts, for that matter.
As I became older, this seemed to be a continuing trend, however. Why, just today, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the back of a bottle of Premium Rust-Oleum Hammered spray paint. I was pleased to discover that it "Hides Surface Imperfections" and that "The hammered finish decorates & protects metal, wood, concrete, stone and more." I began to reflect upon how silly it was that there I was, standing in the cold parking lot outside of our office building, thoroughly engrossed in the writing on the back of a can of spray paint. I mean, here I am, a person who barely can find time to read the latest revision of our newest technical manuals, thoroughly entertained for five minutes by a simple can of spray paint. What does this say about my attention span?
This habit is something I never really gave much thought to until now. I have to wonder, am I unusual? Or, is this something everyone does? And why? Is is a desperate plea for entertainment? Do I secretly suspect that someday knowing the ingredients in my laundry detergent may be vitally important to my survival? If so, I should probably pay more attention. It seem that it is as mindless of a habit as watching television is? The label provides something to read, absorb, and then quickly forget because it doesn't really matter anyway. I feel obligated to come to some sort of mind boggeling, meaningful conclusion about this compulsion. I cannot, however seem to reach any kind of understanding. Perhaps it is simply one of those things that I will never understand (like why people insist on keeping yappy little dogs in apartment buildings.)