I purchased a battery-powered implement the other day of a type that’s been proliferating in stores during the last few years: the heel smoother.
You can find a plethora of buffers and scrapers, shavers and grinders, all guaranteeing to pare down those horny heels. And then we have the creams—sticks and tubes and jars, all promising (with photos!) heels as velvety soft as a baby’s bottom.
My particular gizmo was cleverly called “achilles’ heel” and I found it on sale for a pittance at T.J. Maxx, where it beckoned seductively to me—after all, it’s manufactured by a company called “bliss” (and all those lower-case words are not an error on my part; “bliss” seems to have e. e. cummings writing its copy).
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the book of instructions that came with my heel buffer. And in that book of instructions, along with such helpful hints as “don’t operate under a blanket; can cause a fire” and “ensure that your hands are dry when operating the controls,” I found the following:
Remove battery promptly if consumed.
If consumed? I know that lawyers create these things nowadays, and they like to cover all possible bases. But, eating batteries? Would anyone really think to do such a thing? Or is it the entire implement (which is not enormous, but certainly a rather large item to swallow) that might be ingested?
And then, how to remove, once down the gullet? The mind boggles at the thought.
Fortunately, as is true of most instructions these days, these came in several languages. Turning the pages to the only other language of which I have even a rudimentary knowledge, I saw that in Spanish the sentence became:
Retire las pilas rápidamente si están agotadas.
I retain enough high school Spanish to know that must mean something like, “remove the batteries quickly if they are…” and then some verb. If they are eaten? No. If they are chewed? No.
But the internet is a glorius thing, and a search immediately provided the meaning of the verb “agotar”: exhausted; depleted.
If the batteries are exhausted or depleted. It was both a relief and a disappointment at the same time.