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WARNING: Read with caution

It's become a fun diversion in my house to read product warning labels.

Some of those labels are important, but they're not the fun ones. Warnings on products like ladders and power tools are so intimidating it's surprising anyone would ever purchase the product.

The labels that are fun to read are those that over-warn us about silly, common sense things. I realize the manufacturers feel obliged to tell us of any possible risk in order to avoid being sued, but some of the warnings are so unlikely I wouldn't even consider trying them.

For example, I would never have thought to use clay or modeling putty as a substitute for ear plugs, at least not until I read the warning.

Likewise, I've not been tempted to eat a frozen dinner while it is rock hard in its little tray. Who would need to be told to defrost it first? We're also told that after heating, the food may be hot. That's the idea.

It's a wonder any of us survive our morning routines with all the inherent dangers. We are told how to use soap in the shower, and warned that we are not to use a hairdryer while bathing or while we are sleeping. When it's time to dress, the iron label warns us not to press our clothes while they're on our bodies. That's another thing I wouldn't have thought to attempt.

Eating or drinking anything can be scary propositions, but all the warning labels are there to help us out.

Sleep aid medications warn us they may cause drowsiness (we certainly hope so).

Some snack foods even give us precise instructions: Open packet, eat nuts. To accompany those salty snacks, grab a bottle of water or soda, but read the directions first: twist top off with hands - do not put cap in mouth.

When driving away from the house, heed the warning on the windshield sunblocker: Do not drive with sun shield in place.

Parents must be warned to remove their children before folding up the collapsible stroller, office workers must be told not to eat the toner for the copy machine, and those eating fruit snacks are told to first remove the packaging.

Wouldn't we notice the cellophane without being told?

Just as a safety precaution, I've compiled a list of warnings McDuffie Mirror readers should heed while reading this newspaper. Be aware of paper cuts, and use care when turning the pages of this newspaper. This newspaper should not be read in the dark - use proper light to avoid eye strain. Don't read this paper while operating a vehicle or any heavy machinery. If cutting out a photo or article to save, use scissors under proper supervision. Scissors are sharp and may cause bodily injury. When wrapping fish with this newspaper, avoid fish scales as they can cut. When using a pen to circle classified ads, avoid biting or sucking on the end of the ink pen as ink is not intended for human consumption.

After reading, fold this paper neatly and place it in the discard stack, along with all those silly warning labels.



Web posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005











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