1. Opinion

Have you recently microwaved a library book? Please read on.

Stephanie Hayes | Don't do that! But if you did, give yourself a small break.
Do not put these in the microwave.
Do not put these in the microwave. [ CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jul. 3, 2020|Updated Jul. 3, 2020

Do not microwave library books. That is a very important sentence. Don’t confuse the rest of this column with a pass for microwaving library books. I will periodically sprinkle that advice throughout, in hopes that Google picks up on it.

Do not microwave library books.

However, have you microwaved a library book? Perhaps you are thinking, “Oh, fudge, now I must pretend to have never microwaved a library book, lest I look like an interminable fool. I will take this secret to my grave, along with the time I streamed Baywatch Nights.”

Florida surpassed 10,000 coronavirus cases in a single day this week, and people are anxious to attack bad germs. This entire situation has led some to behave in irrational ways, such as putting books in the microwave.

Local libraries are taking to the internet to remind us that books are not Jiffy Pop. Cooking a book will burn the pages when the metal security tabs ignite. That is bad for a library book and unsafe for your home.

The Temple Terrace Public Library posted on Facebook that Hillsborough branches quarantine materials for 72 hours after they are returned. The Largo Public Library was all, “Firstly, that is not how microwaves work.”

Temple Terrace and all Hillsborough County Library Cooperative libraries quarantine all materials for 72 hours after...

Posted by Temple Terrace Public Library on Monday, June 29, 2020

Do not microwave library books.

The low-hanging fruit approach here is to eviscerate book burners. But as the proverb states, let she who lives in an unmicrowaved house cast the first Lean Cuisine.

Related: It's a library book, not a Hot Pocket

How do I know it is bad to nuke paper and metal? I once tried to microwave half of a frozen bag of shredded cheese. I know you have follow-up questions, so I’ll get right to them. 1. My mom believed in freezing everything. 2. I don’t know how cheese goes from frozen to not frozen without melting, but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. 3. This half bag of cheese was secured with a good, old-fashioned twist tie. Paper and metal!

I will pause while you imagine the scene. Are you picturing Die Hard, starring a 13-year-old screaming blonde? Good. You’re there.

This is a fun party story, one my brother brings out annually at family dinners. It is also a reminder that we are imperfect beings.

There’s currently a lot of pressure around doing the right thing. Everyone seems to have an answer, along with free platforms on which to share dubious claims.

Memes don’t equal facts, and it’s important to get reliable information. Taking untested drugs can be deadly, and we must listen to scientists and disease experts. Look for real, reported sources. Your cousin in Phoenix might not qualify, sorry to say.

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And know that information changes. At the outset of the virus in America, experts said not to bother with masks. We now have research that shows masks are extremely helpful.

Give yourself an iota of grace. If you posted about not wearing masks in March, it’s OK to post about wearing masks in July. If you microwaved a book, pay for the damage and then spread the good word not to do it. We have all, at one point, microwaved the proverbial library book. Let’s talk about it, learn and do better.

Do not microwave library books.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes

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