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Rant

Top 10 Ways To Not Electrocute Yourself With Twinkly Lights This Year, By SCE Electric

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Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 6:39 PM

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Your lifetime subscription to SoCal power supplier SCE requires you care about its grandmotherly new list of "Holiday Lighting Safety Tips," or how to avoid all danger and joyfulness while lighting your humble abode this holiday season.

Unless you're a DWP baby, in which case we hate to inform you that you're on your own, kid -- because your power supplier is so totally out getting schwasted right now.

Ten fun-killing commandments after the jump!

Just think of these tips as all the arguments you won't be able to make when you show up to court with sootface and Edward Scissorhands hair next month, in hopes SCE might reimburse your dignity.

"The holiday season is an exciting time of year," said William Messner, SCE director of corporate environment, health and safety. "But we want all of our customers to keep safety foremost in their minds as they enjoy their decorating experience."

Safe enjoyment? Sounds about as satisfying as a sugarless sugar cookie. Here's how SCE suggests you find that healthy balance:

1. When hanging lights, make sure staples, tacks and nails do not pierce or pinch wires. Use plastic zip cords instead.

Staples, tacks and nails? You just listed the only three methods of adhesive that have ever not caused us to kill a small bird in residual rage. Plastic zip cords? If we're correctly remembering what those even are, we're also remembering -- quite clearly now -- that they're not actually capable of sticking things onto other things. So... you're saying you want us to fiddle with the buggers 'til we blister, then just kill a small bird instead. Mmkay. We'd like to point out, finally, that plastic zip cords are an official adversary of Christmas, due to a long history of making perfectly awesome toys virtually un-openable. Come to think of it, the only thing plastic zip cords might be good for is restricting the air supplies of small birds. Can we have our tacks back now?

2. Never get closer than 10 feet to power lines. Remember, trees may have power lines running above, near or through them. Do not place light strands or electrical cords in trees.

We like how you just threw that in there at the end: no lights in trees. Isn't that sort of removing the whole point of Christmas, besides the Jesus thing or whatever? As for your precious power lines, maybe you should have considered not running them through some awkward holes you shaved in our foliage. Tree come first, and tree want twinkle magic whether power line want it or not.

3. Do not use lighted candles on trees or decorations. During power outages use flashlights instead of candles.

The only cool thing about a power outage is pretending we live in the gold rush of 1849 or "The Nutcracker." Not at some lame sleepover, scaring each other with battery-saving beams that give shadows to our zits. If you're gonna shut off the power, at least allow us some romance.

4. Beware of counterfeit or poor quality electrical products. Use only lighting and cords approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent, nonprofit organization that tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards.

We lost you at "beware." Just make sure those trusty UL cats get their stamps of approval on the cheapest lights at the corner store, and we'll be good.

5. Check all indoor and outdoor decorative lighting for frayed cords, broken wires and loose connections. If you find a problem, throw the strand away.

If we'd have been able to find those during the 24-hour cord/wire/connection battle in which one-half of the lights consistently refused to twinkle, two dozen small birds might still be alive right now.

6. Use lights and extension cords designed for outdoor use if placing them outside.

Do you actually expect us to distinguish one tangly plastic piece of crap from its evil outdoor twin? Even if we could, they'd probably just end up shapeshifting anyway.

7. Unplug lights when you leave home or go to bed. Save energy by using a timer so the lights are on only during the hours you select.

So if we get home at 7 p.m. and go to bed at midnight, all those small birds will have died for five stupid hours of Christmas brilliance. Nope. We're usually on the green side of the debate, but not when the holiday spirit is at risk. What if we wake up in the night or something?

8. Use only three strands of light per electrical cord or outlet. An overload could cause a short circuit and a fire.

And here we thought the whole challenge was squeezing as many prongs as spacially possible onto one giant base cluster. Shucks.

9. Keep indoor trees well watered so that they will not dry out and become fire hazards.

Dude. We can barely remember to keep the goldfish watered. Keeping a temporary ornament holder watered, especially one we're going to abandon in some ditch two weeks from now, is asking a little much.

10. Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture, drapes and other combustible material.

So where can we have them? Suspended in middair, 10 feet from all power-related items under your jurisdiction and likewise all softish parts of our house? We got it: The tool shed! How festive.

With rules like these, how exactly do you propose we make our 365-day-anticipated Christmas morning entrance in a Snuggie wrapped with twinkly lights?

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