Most of us have one.
For those who don’t, there are warning labels.
Unfortunately, these warnings don’t appear on actual humans. Instead, they are issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the monumental task of thinking up ways stupid people might injure themselves using standard household items.
While the commission generally stays ahead of the curve with the help of researchers, lab studies, and a select group of retired circus chimps, from time to time a hot new product is embraced so quickly by the general public that there’s simply no time to warn them that actually embracing it could result in serious injury. This past holiday season, according to the safety commission, reports of house fires involving large men submerging whole turkeys into deep fryers has risen dramatically. This prompted the commission to issue a special, multi-paged consumer alert called:
Fryer, Fryer Pants on Fire.
Using this handy combustable pamphlet, I’ve organized a safety checklist from the American National Standards Institute, which oversees turkey-fryer safety standards, as well as any consumer product that includes the three components of what safety experts call the Triangle of Fire:
1) A heat source.
2) A meat product.
3) An intoxicated male.
This brings us to safety tip number one:
Never leave your turkey unattended.
Studies show that once the initial excitement of watching hot oil has passed, men quickly get bored and wander off in search of the nearest flat-screen TV. So, as a precaution, the standards institute suggests that wives keep an eye on their turkey at all times — or, at the very least, until he’s done using the deep fryer.
Tip number two:
Always use turkey fryers outdoors.
Given the opportunity, men will set up their turkey fryer in the living room in order to watch football while cooking. This is dangerous because, should his team score at the wrong moment, there’s a good chance the turkey will get spiked into the fryer. And hey, even if you manage to avoid this hazardous situation, there’s also your home’s resale value to consider — meaning that, should you ever decide to sell, describing your home to a potential buyer as having “three bedrooms, two baths, and a pleasant fried-turkey smell” will, in many cases, end negotiations.
And finally, tip number three:
Don’t move fryer while it is in operation.
You should always wait until the oil is completely cooled before moving your fryer.
The only exception to this, of course, is if your wife catches you cooking in the living room.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at email@example.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)