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Stupid warning labels

David Epps's picture

It was 4 a.m. a few weeks ago and I had to get on the road. The hour was early enough that it would be some time before I could stop for a much needed cup of coffee. In the bathroom, I spied one of those little bottles of 5-hour energy drinks.

“Ah, just the thing,” I thought to myself as I unscrewed the top. Just as I was about to down the whole thing in one gulp, something on the little bottle caught my eye.

I lowered the bottle, looked at it, and, to my surprise and horror, it wasn’t a 5-hour energy drink at all.

It was a small bottle of octane booster designed to treat five gallons of gas. I had purchased it several days earlier to put it in the five-gallon gas tank of my Harley-Davidson.

It would have waked me up all right — but I came exceedingly close to getting my stomach pumped at the local hospital instead of being on the way to my destination.

Suddenly, I knew why there are stupid warning labels on some products. It’s because somewhere, at some time, someone has done something really stupid.

Apparently, there are hundreds of warning labels that probably have their origin in someone doing something absurd. In fact, there are several books on the market that contain nothing but stupid warning labels. A few of these warnings include:

On a hair dryer: Do not use in shower. Never use while sleeping.

On Lady Speed Stick Deodorant: For external use only.

On the package of an Ace Garden Hose: Do not spray water into an electrical outlet. Severe electrical shock could result.

On a lawnmower: Do not place hands or feet under mower when engine is running.

On a disposable razor: Do not use this product during an earthquake.

On a can of Fix-a-Flat: Not to be used for breast augmentation.

On a portable stroller: Remove infant before folding for storage.

On a child-sized Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

On a child’s blow-up pool: Warning: No diving! You may become paralyzed.

On a jar of peanuts: Allergy alert: contains peanuts

On a carton of eggs: Allergy information: contains eggs.

And, a label that I can only assume got confused in translation ... On a Korean kitchen knife: Warning keep out of children.

Prior to a few weeks ago, I would have said, “Nobody can be that stupid.” I was wrong. I nearly upped my own personal octane level.

I didn’t check to see if there was a label that said, “Warning. Drinking of this product will not wake you up and allow you to continue to stay alive at the same time.”

I don’t know what happened to my little bottle of 5-hour energy drink. I sure hope I didn’t put it in the Harley’s gas tank.

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. ( He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese ( He may contacted at]

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