Give me s’more safety, please


S’mores, forgotten in the oven, turned into a blazing fire due to the chef’s carelessness. It’s important to be safe, even for daily tasks such as driving, riding a bike and wearing a mask. Graphic by Theresa Lee

I opened the oven, expecting to see perfect s’mores oozing melted chocolate and gooey marshmallows. Instead, I was greeted with a blazing fire.

I’m a good chef. I can make dumplings, khachapuri, chicken noodle soup and various other dishes. I’ve made s’mores in the oven dozens of times before. So, setting the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, placing chocolate and marshmallows on graham crackers and waiting for the marshmallows to turn golden brown should have been easy.

However, I was overconfident and inattentive.

I returned to my homework and forgot to set a timer. I thought everything would be fine.

The smoke detectors blared while my sister called the fire department. My family rushed me onto the street as a fire truck pulled into our driveway. I realized my carelessness could have cost us our lives.

Making a conscious effort to be safe can be instrumental in preventing a terrible situation. Teens can be overconfident and careless in assuming we have everything under control. However, it’s important to stay vigilant. Small safety measures may seem unimportant ­­­— until a tragedy occurs.

Even slipping up once can have serious consequences, especially when you’re putting yourself and others at risk. I often see teens biking without helmets or texting while driving. My social media feed is littered with maskless peers neglecting social distancing.

Wearing a helmet or a mask or putting my phone away sometimes seems unnecessary. However, my experience with burning s’mores reminds me to err on the side of caution. Silence your phone and put it away while driving, because texting for even a moment can lead to a car crash. Wear a helmet when biking, because a helmet-less head hitting the pavement can cause a concussion. Use a mask at a social gathering, because just one infected friend can lead to dozens of new cases. Maskless social interaction enables the pandemic to last even longer. It also puts everyone involved at a higher risk of getting sick or even dying and spreading the virus to elderly or immunocompromised family members.

Remember to stay cautious and be responsible. You never know when your s’mores will go up in smoke.