Carolyn J. Rose
A few days ago I made more than my usual snack-food foray into the kitchen and entered with the intention of cooking a complete meal. (Okay, it was a casserole. But it contained all the food groups—if you count asparagus as a fruit.)
While rummaging in the pantry, however, I got sidetracked by the warning labels that now seem to be everywhere. This one told me not to eat raw biscuit dough.
Some of the greatest joys of my childhood involved snitching gobs of cookie dough, licking cake batter from the beaters, and tweaking off pieces of pie crust when my grandmother wasn’t looking. Apparently I was lucky to avoid potentially dangerous bacteria lurking in raw eggs and flour, lucky to avoid serious illness, lucky to live to grow up.
Don’t get me wrong. I think most warning labels are a good idea. I was glad when they were posted on cigarettes, liquor, medications, and even power tools.
I was not so glad to see warnings about hot drinks, but I understood the purpose. We live in a litigious society where covering your ass has to do with more than putting on underwear. I get that. But I also think labels can “nanny” us too much, and even encourage us to sidestep responsibility and perhaps limit our thinking and learning.
For example, the label that told me not to eat raw dough didn’t tell me why, didn’t tell me raw egg and raw flour could be hazardous to my health. So, if I’d decided to make a cake from scratch—borrowing ingredients from my neighbor so I didn’t see the packaging labels—and licking the spatula and beaters, I might even now be in an emergency room.
After reading the paper this morning and seeing yet another article about children left in a hot car, I wondered if the next step is warning stickers on cars and trucks. Or even on children themselves. WARNING: DO NOT EXPOSE SMALL HUMANS TO EXTREMELY HIGH OR LOW TEMPERATURES, DEEP WATER, PRECIPICES, HIGHWAYS, ETC.
Heck, maybe we should all have labels. Mine might read WARNING: MAY BECOME CRABBY IF NOT FED AT REGULAR INTERVALS, MUST HAVE EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP IN ORDER TO FUNCTION WELL, MAY NOT AGREE WITH YOUR OPINIONS.
Which leads me to one place I’d like to see warning labels—really large labels.
What would be on such labels? Here’s my off-the-top-of-my-head list.
WARNING: MAY NOT KEEP PROMISES MADE WHILE RUNNING FOR OFFICE, MAY NOT ADHERE TO A POLICY OF TRUTH AND HONESTY AT ALL TIMES, MAY PANDER TO SPECIAL INTERESTS, MAY OCCASIONALLY SLING MUD, MAY SHOW MORE ALLEGIANCE TO A PARTICULAR PARTY OR ORGANIZATION THAN TO THE PEOPLE, MAY NOT BELIEVE IN COMPROMISE, MAY RAISE TAXES, MAY VOTE TO DECLARE WAR.
What’s on your list? Leave me a comment.