The weighty issue of the day did not start out having anything whatsoever to do with lowering the lid. No. It's this: Should you eat food that has been dropped on the floor?
Can you tell I'm off to a slow start today? It's been raining for, oh, too long. Most Minnesotans adapt to our weather. So today I am mostly cloudy with intermittent showers and blustery winds. And I don't feel one bit like writing about topical matters. Think sensory overload. Too. Much. Disturbing. Stuff. Hence the topic du jour. Several weeks ago, I noticed a piece in the Chicago Tribune that I've been saving for . . . a rainy day. Bingo! Read on if you dare!
Old wives have been saying since time out of mind that if you drop food on the floor and rescue it in (choose one: three or five) seconds, it's a no harm-no foul deal. People are evenly divided about this, at least in Chicago. But it's not simple. Turns out there are variables to be considered.
WARNING: If you weren't paranoid about germs before, you will be when you finish reading:
The average office desk, for example, harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat, according to University of Arizona researcher Charles Gerba. And teachers' work spaces have more bacteria than most other professions, followed by surfaces used by accountants and bankers, Gerba says.
It's probably better to pick up a morsel off a dirty street than a hospital floor that hasn't been decontaminated. [snip]
Gerba has found that office candy bowls are often high in bacteria and sometimes even contain fecal bacteria. Yuck!
No kidding, yuck! Memo to self: No. More. Peppermints. From. Host. Stand. In. Restaurants.
There are pages of comments that follow the ChiTrib's online version of this piece. Some of them simply beg to be shared with the discerning readers who frequent the Clothesline:
' My first rule is consistency; would not pick up smooshy food, cottage cheese, jam or jelly, mashed potatoes.
' With mashed potatoes, I will only eat the top layer off the floor.
' I eat about half my lunches at my desk, so should I start eating off the toilet seat now?
' Dare I ask why you're eating in the men's room?
' I think you've found the golden bullet for killing off Halloween office candy bowl obsessions. Just affix a sign to the bowl that says, "May contain fecal bacteria."
' In my house, if you don't pick dropped food up in 2.5 seconds, you lose it to the fastest dog in the West.
' Drop it and it's garbage!
' Does that toilet seat thing apply to the bus depot?
' I'm so tired of the desk vs. toilet seat info . . . I'll put a sandwich on my desk and another on a toilet seat, then let you decide which one to eat.
' Two words, people: George Costanza.
' If you eat hot dogs or sausage or even ground beef, I have no idea why you'd have a problem eating something that's fallen on the floor.
' How silly is this thread?
Pretty silly. But a nice little diversion from this week's plateful of "I don't remember," eh? BTW, it's still raining.