"The world is more dangerous than it's ever been," adds Muse, who is single (marital spats elevate blood pressure) and lives (carefully) in a roomy old apartment in a Maine coastal town. Indeed, from aluminum foil (the dispenser cutter is bloody sharp) to croquet mallets (instant wrist-sprainers), it's a regular jungle in there. Even things that seem healthful can be hazardous, such as quitting smoking (nicotine withdrawal may be disorienting), toothbrushes (bacteria farms) and eating alfalfa sprouts (hello, salmonella!).
Not to worry. Muse, who spent two years researching the book, says her purpose is not to alarm people but to make them laugh at their most absurd anxieties. Even so, knowing the risks of yo-yos (shooting the moon might break a tooth) and sugar-free gum (can cause diarrhea) can have value. Says Muse: "Ignorance is far from bliss."