Friday, April 20, 2007

The Sandwich Flip

I realize that it has been a while since I posted anything on this blog. I apologize for not waiting any longer. Many things have happened to me since last week, including the following incident. It was a rather traumatic experience, and one that is potentially interesting to my long suffering readers. Here is what happened: I was hungry after a long day of work, so I decided to make myself a ham sandwich. I did so and then stuck it into the toaster oven to warm it up a bit. The fact that I left it in too long and burned one side of it was a foreshadowing of the ordeal to come. So I scraped the carbon deposits off the bread and put the sandwich on a paper plate(not considering its lightweightedness to be a hazard) and I cut the sandwich in half. On this plate I also placed some potato chips and some raw baby carrots (I always try to include at least one serving of vegetables a week). Then, unknowingly putting myself in greater peril, I plopped down onto the couch and turned on the television machine.

I then blissfully proceeded to eat the first half of my ham sandwich. It wasn't bad. A little cheese would have helped, but when I'm hungry, I am willing to live without mere trivialities such as good flavor, pleasant consistency, nutritional value, freshness, safety, etc. So, there I was, sitting on the left-hand side of the sofa, the feather-light paper plate balanced on my left hand, my eyes on the television, one half of my sandwich gone. And then disaster struck. As I was lowering my right arm after sticking a carrot into my mouth I misjudged the location of my plate, possibly because I my eyes were riveted on the boob tube, and my right hand came down with vigor upon the right hand side of the plate. The plate flipped over like a Chinese gymnast and scattered my chips, my carrots and my ham sandwich all over my lap, my couch, and my floor. I immediately sprung into action by emitting what my neighbors have since described as an anguished wail. I then sat in stunned silence for what seemed like a full jiffy, and I suddenly started to laugh. I don't know if I laughed because I was suffering a slight case of shock (don't people in shock often laugh like idiots?), or because, fool that I am, I did not recognize the catastrophe immediately for what it was, but saw only its humorous aspects.

As the shock wore off and I surveyed my food covered trousers and couch and floor and thought about the cleaning up I now had to do, it occurred to me that the main course, my half sandwich, had fallen not onto my relatively clean couch or lap, but had instead fallen to the floor, right next to my feet. My mind then started racing through history -- the history of feet, the history of feet that have trodden the very spot where now sat my helpless half sandwich. And I began to think of my shoes and socks and the soles of my feet, and the shoes and socks and soles of the feet of visitors who have walked with light or heavy step upon that newly besandwiched plot of flooring. And I also called to mind the tiny cat feet which have wandered about my living room in the recent past. And I tried to imagine what remnants of exotic bacteria and sock fuzz and common Ohio dirt and toe fromage and kitty hair might still remain there.

I had a decision to make. Should I clean up the mess and throw away the unfortunate sandwich? Or should I buck up, grab the sandwich, brush off the germs, fuzz and dead insects, and eat the thing? One problem was that the Five-Second Rule had long since ceased to apply to this situation as I had wasted too much time in wailing, laughing and pondering after the accident (the Five-Second Rule states that one may eat something dropped on the floor if it is picked up within five seconds). Another problem was that my hunger was hardly alleviated by the mere morsel I had eaten so far, and the hour was too late for me to consider the arduous preparation of another "meal". I realized that hunger must override fastidiousness. So I decided I would test the limits of this fantastic immune system God has given me. I decided the risk of consuming the microscopic multiculture that might have stuck to the surface of my ham sandwich (and the two potato chips that also landed on the floor) did not outweigh the importance of immediate gratification. I decided that out of sight is out of mind. And I crammed the thing into my mouth.

It tasted fine, and I felt and still feel all right. Although there was a kind of a "fuzzy" sensation in my mouth for a few hours.


Justin said...

I often think that humans, presumably, are more robust that we gives ourselves credit for in this day and age. If we were as finicky back in the stone age as we all seem to be today, I doubt we'd have survived as a species.

Okay, maybe I can see that that Geico caveman passing up some left-over animal flesh that's been sitting in the sun for 12 hours, but I doubt he's one of my decendants.

I'd be more worried about the residual cleaning agents left on your floor.

Mr. Austin said...

Most of the food I eat I wouldn't even really consider food; more processed food-like substances. All it takes for me to unabashedly hoist a fallen bit of sustenance back into my food hole is the knowledge that before it had even reached that kitchen/office/garage floor, it had seen so many surfaces, chemicals and entities that it'd be best not to think about.

Like eating bologna.

Neil said...

Justin, you are right about humans being robust. Germs are no match for the human immune system, especially one that has been conditioned by constant exposure to new and interesting germs.
And as for the expectation of there being any residual cleaning agents on my floor, well, I suppose that's possible. It's also possible that a chimpanzee might accidentally play "Goodnight Irene" on a zither.

Neil said...

Mr. Austin, you are right about the food product having been through much worse before it ever gets to one's plate (or floor). And as bad as the food factories are here in the USA, I'm sure that they are much worse in China, where more and more of our food will soon be made.