Commentary

Don’t pick it up! Five-second rule disproved

I n the continuing headlong decline of civilization, we now have new evidence that one of humankind’s most necessary qualities—a sense of humor—is in grave danger.

This is not a parody, by the way. It was reported by nothing less than CBS News.

Thanks to a team of researchers at San Diego State University, we now have irrefutable scientific proof that the five-second rule is false.

You know the “five-second rule,” the one that was always cited by the nice grandma, the one who let you have a Pepsi and a Snickers bar when she babysat you while the other would only give you an apple slice and sugarless kool-aid.

Here’s how it works.

Kid drops food on the floor, starts to sniffle.

Granny snatches it up quickly. “That’s okay Cutiekins, if it’s on the floor less than five seconds, it’s okay to eat.”

(Editor’s note: I just made up that name on the spot. My grandmother never called me ‘Cutiekins.” No, really.)

Here’s how the SDSU geniuses arrived at that conclusion.

They dropped carrots on different surfaces, including a countertop, a kitchen sink, a carpeted floor and a tiled floor.

They also kept a separate carrot which they did not drop on anything.

Guess what they found. I’ll even wait a couple of beats so you can sit down and prepare yourselves for the shocking news that’s about to unfold.

Ready? Okay. The carrots they dropped onto stuff contained more germs than the carrot that hadn’t been dropped!

They even ranked them. Just wait while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. Dirtiest of all were the countertop carrots.

The f loor carrots were tied for second and it didn’t matter whether the floor was carpeted or tile.

Apparently last, meaning it was the cleanest of all the dropped carrots, was the one in the kitchen sink.

That’s right, if you’re going to drop the burger out of your bun, and your reflexes are good, bat it in mid-air into the sink instead of letting it settle on the countertop or hit the floor.

In none of this is there a hint, even a glimmer, that any of these supposedly educated people understands what I’m sure Honey Boo Boo knows, that the five second rule is, and always has been, a joke.

It’s uttered in part just for a laugh and in part to boost the kid’s self-esteem, which as we all know is the ultimate goal of parenting, sociology, education, philosophy and cosmology. As in: “Oh, you dropped your half-eaten Tootsie Pop onto those income tax papers Daddy’s spent two weeks working on and was just about to send off. That’s okay, five-second rule!”

No, this bunch is clueless. They even cited a pol l by McClatchy-Tribune News Services which showed 65 percent of Americans “admit to implementing the five-second rule.”

Of course they did. Anyone without a sense of humor will believe anything and have no clue when they’re being put on.

“Ed, it’s McClatchy-Tribune on the phone, they think we’re so stupid we don’t know food gets dirty if we drop it. What shall I tell em?”

“Might as well say ‘yes,’ I’ve got CNN on the other line. They want to know if I’m still a Whig and plan to vote for William Henry Harrison like I told em last week.”

The study, you’ll not be surprised to hear, was co-funded by Clorox bleach.

Which probably thought it would be a good idea to tell people stuff wiped with bleach contains less germs than dirty countertops and sinks.

Of course that might contain a little marketing problem for them since if you eat something dropped on a surface containing a coat of bleach, you may come down with sodium hypochlorite poisoning, something so nasty it’s not even joked about.

In connection with the five-second rule, as a toddler, I learned these lyrics to a song about a popular cartoon character.

I’m Popeye the sailor man,

I live in a garbage can.

I eat up the worms, and spit out the germs.

I’m Popeye the sailor man.

I’m anxiously awaiting the SD SU scientific study, proving that you can’t really do that, germs once ingested cannot be “spit out.”

They’re going to start right after their study proving a blue moon doesn’t really turn blue.

mike@rockdalereporter.com


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2012-10-25 digital edition



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