Be careful! Everything is dangerous!

The SE Texas Record Dec. 12, 2011, 3:55am

In an effort to draw attention to the overly litigious nature of American society, Bob Dorigo Jones of the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice conducts a contest every year to find the wackiest warning labels attached to consumer products.

Jones has published a collection of wacky warning labels called Remove Child Before Folding, the title being an actual advisory attached to a child's car seat.

Some wacky labels warn of obvious hazards: Knife may be sharp, heater may be hot, poison may be poisonous, etc.

Others caution against bizarrely inappropriate product uses: Do not eat packaging, do not dance on top of ladder, do not assemble on interstate highway, etc.

Wacky warnings may be ok in a Roadrunner cartoon, but do we need them in the real world?

Wile E. Coyote might be tempted to step off a cliff or swallow a stick of dynamite or saw a tree limb while sitting on the wrong side of it, but surely Joan Q. Public knows better.

Or does she?

Courtney Harris seems not to have realized that real candles, when lit, have real flames that can ignite real fires.

Harris has filed suit against the S.C. Johnson Co. in Jefferson County District Court, accusing the firm of using deceptive trade practices to promote its Glade scented candles.

She blames a Glade candle for starting a fire that partially destroyed her home. This was a candle that S.C. Johnson advertised as "safe." Can you believe that?

Unless this was a case of spontaneous combustion and the candle ignited itself, however, Harris probably lit it and left it unattended – not a good idea.

Maybe S.C. Johnson should attach wacky labels to its Glade candles, warning consumers that fires can start fires. Maybe the company should sell only wickless candles with fire-retardant wax, so no one can light them.

Or, maybe people should accept responsibility for their actions and not blame others for the misfortune they bring upon themselves.

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