Odd safety poster

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Artist Mitch O'Connell picked up this safety poster at a flea market. I am as confused as he is about the illustration: "The lesson is to mix up drugs in a beaker and drink 'em, right?"

Flea Market Finds #7!



  1. this is obviously reflective (no visual pun intended) of a deeply Christian conceit that man is inherently bad by nature and requires an external force to put him on a righteous correct path. Is it coincidence that the liquid marked “Self Discipline” which man must drink has a blood-like appearance? Of course the halo imagery needs no comment…

    1. I was kind of thinking along the same line, with a minor revision. I’ve come across people (a cultish brand of Christians, the Boston/International Church of Christ) who vehemently rejected the notion of things like self discipline, responsibility, etc., because they basically felt you’ll only do the right thing only if you let God work through you. In fact, they seemed to believe that “doing the right thing” by your own initiative amounted to rejecting God, and was a grievous sin.

      Looking at the “Self discipline” fumes from the test tube, I get the distinct feeling that self discipline is a BAD thing. Never mind that the guy is smiling, standing up straight, and has a barrel chest in the “after” picture, because there’s a demon that lurks within.

  2. Self discipline seems to add quite a few pounds. I’ll stick with reckless abandon, thanks.

      1. I was commenting on the pun in the name. Enos Better, He knows better. At least that’s what I got out of it.

  3. It’s a tough pill to swallow?

    The medicine won’t taste good?

    Best things I can think of.

  4. Jeykll & Hyde, for those not getting the reference.

    A daily dose of self-discipline keeps the monster at bay!

    I like it. Very erudite & philosophical, it has layers.

  5. Drink the koolaid! Don’t ask questions!

    I love how “self discipline” is depicted as a black and noxious liquid, dripping and spilling a toxic effluvium.

    The greatest irony, however, is that self discipline is not as easy as drinking a magical elixir. It requires patience, hard work, and self-sacrifice (not shown.)

    Discipline is not and end in itself. It is a means to an end.

  6. More seriously, the reminder in this poster is of the correct way to hold a full test tube: with the open end pointing away from you, and not above anything (like your other hand). The guy at the top is spilling black stuff on his arm.

  7. This poster is for this lab safety rule:

    When mixing things in test tubes, point it away from you or anyone else in case of a violent reaction.

    That was the second rule I thought of, the first one was:

    Don’t smell directly with your nose, instead keep the test tube away and waft the fumes/smell towards your nose with your hand.

    I agree it is not a very good illustration.

    1. hahahah, me too.

      a faint whiff of self control makes you a monster, and minimizing your exposure is the best choice.

  8. No, no, no – he smeared it all over his face: he did not drink the goo.
    It’s for external use only.
    Honestly – what are you people thinking?

      1. This made me laugh so hard to snorted mysterious-unlabeled-black-concoction out of my nose!

  9. ‘Holding a test tube of raw crude spilled in the gulf will make you angry and violent in front of your bathroom mirror- holding a tube of fresh air in front of your mirror will get you into heaven’

  10. @18 and 19

    That’s what I thought too, but why is the tube empty in the second pic?

    Also everyone is saying poster, but the staples in the black area would indicate matchbook size.

  11. Right, they were small notepads sized to fit in a shirt pocket. There was a whole series of them with Enos, and some of the safety messages were clearer than this one. My dad had them, so they were probably distributed by someone at the Chicago offices of Illinois Bell sometime in the interval 1955/1965.

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