Thursday, September 22, 2016

Five Seconds Too Long

Scientists have supposedly debunked the five second rule.  In other news, someone actually shelled out money so that people could Drop Food on the Floor and See What Happens.  Not only that: it isn’t even the first time they’ve tried to figure this out: “Schaffner’s research isnt the first to conclude that the favorite excuse for why that yummy snack that fell on the ground is still OK to eat is wrong” (first link).  But not to worry; the topic is hardly over-researched because “there have only been three studies conducted on the theory that has not been [sic?] published in scientific journals” (third link).  Only three, mon frère!

What I want to know is why I can’t get that research job.  Writing, editing, paleography, Shakespeare?  Pooh.  I want to be able to drop food on the floor and call it research.  I bet I could even bring Baby to work with me as well; babies know how to drop food on the floor.  It’s one of their favorite games, in fact, especially if the adults around them keep picking said food up.  (Also, I clearly should have gone to Rutgers: they have all zhe money.)

So now there are headlines saying that we shouldn’t eat that fallen food.  Google study five second rule and look under “news”; or just take this terrifying quote, from the second article: “[W]e should mention there are 31 known pathogens responsible for an estimated 9 million cases of food-borne illness a year, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention.”  Thirty-one known pathogens!!  Nine million cases of food-borne illness!!!!  Bunter, my fainting couch!!!!!!

But now I’m confused, because I remember those other theories that kids who eat dirt and stuff have fewer allergies.  And then there’s personal experience.  I taught college for two years …

Sans flu shots, no less—please don’t hurt me, internet.
My Tdap is still swollen from a week ago.

without getting so much as a sniffle, an experience which I can only attribute to the fact that there are certain pieces of sanitary advice which I have always tended to ignore.  Mind you, that “always” is probably important: I’m not recommending that someone who has never eaten fallen food start now.  Nor am I saying you should let your two-year-old pick up that string bean from the “spotless” (or not-so-spotless) tile floor of your kitchen.  (Hey, lawyer’s daughters have their disclaimers.)  I’m just saying that I’m not scared of a few bacteria.  And I have centipedes in my kitchen.  Possibly millipedes—I haven’t taken the trouble to count.  But if Rutgers will give me money and a microscope to play with, I will turn out a highly-researched, jauntily-phrased, and beauuuutifully-edited academic paper on the topic from my kitchen.  Which I traverse on a regular basis, barefoot and pregnant.

I double, double dare you to eat that watermelon.

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