The Madison County Record Dec. 8, 2012, 10:00am

Last year, just before Thanksgiving, some officious busybody from the Department of Homeland Security tweeted a warning about the apocalyptic dangers of turkey fryers. Use them outside, the martinet admonished, at a safe distance from buildings, not in your garage or on your wooden deck -- yada, yada, yada.

Another DHS tweet linked to a hysterically hyperbolic video from Underwriters Laboratories simulating the havoc that could be wreaked by turkey fryers in the hands of suicidal chefs and brainless barbecuers.

Apparently, it’s inadvisable to drop unthawed turkeys into vats of boiling peanut oil or to cram 20-lb birds into pots with a 10-lb capacity. Who knew?

Trying to pick up the heated pot with bare hands is a bad idea, too, the experts cautioned. Embracing it with both arms and giving it a big kiss would be foolhardy.

Needless to say, the counterfeit Cajun cook should not purposely knock the pot over, spill hot peanut oil all over the floor, and tip the burner so that it ignites the oil.

What all this had to do with homeland security is anybody’s guess. (Surely, Homeland boss Janet Napolitano knows the difference between turkey and Turkey?)

The interesting thing, though, is that neither Underwriters Laboratories nor the Department of Homeland Security bothered to mention one of the most dangerous aspects of turkey fryers: they can hurt you even before they’ve been filled with oil and heated.

In fact, they can hurt you before you remove them from the box, before you get them home, before you even purchase one.

Scary, isn’t it?

We have Alton’s very own Brad Lakin to thank for this timely warning. A client of his allegedly got hit in the head by a turkey fryer that flew off the shelf at Kmart this past Nov. 21st, the day before Thanksgiving.

Naturally, he and his client are suing Kmart.

Get your turkey fryers now before prices go up.

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