Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Five Second Rule

          Have you heard? A scientific study claims to have proven the validity of the age old "Five Second Rule". For those who are new to this planet, the "Five Second Rule" states that any food dropped on the floor is perfectly safe to eat as long as it is picked up within five seconds of being dropped. The logic being that five seconds is not long enough for the food to become contaminated by whatever microbes might be lurking on the surfaces we walk on. Mothers have used the "Five Second Rule" since time immemorial to decide whether to waste their toddlers' food supply simply because it has slipped from their less than coordinated grasp. I'm sure even Nanny Neanderthal was snatching woolly mammoth meat off of the cave floor and "kissing it up to God". It's a time-honored tradition.

I think we can safely say this is just another instance of science slowly catching up to common wisdom. I have often said doctors, and by inference scientists in general, don't know everything, and that the latest clinical study is only valid until the next one refutes it. So many scientific studies rely, at some point, on statistical analysis that it makes the conclusions subject to doubt, as far I am concerned. It is a well-designed experiment, indeed, in which one can be absolutely positive no unaccounted for influences are skewing the results. A wise man once said there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. I adhere to that principle because statistics are always subject to interpretation and, therefore, can be made to prove just about anything. That's why politicians cite them so often.

Statistics aside, you only have to use your own common sense and experience to come to the same conclusion as this latest study. (I hope our tax dollars weren't used to fund it but I'm not counting on that. Regardless of the fact that the study was done in a foreign country, this is exactly the kind of thing that our elected representatives, in their infinite wisdom, are fond of wasting our hard-earned money on). Heck, forget about experience and common sense just use your own eyes. Have you ever looked at a toddler's hands? The floor is far more sanitary! Our kids would probably be safer if we velcroed their hands behind their backs and had them lick their food right off the kitchen tiles. In fact, I'm going to start an outreach program to "raise awareness" of the dangers that America's mothers are exposing their children to by allowing them to actually touch their food. The slogan will be:  " Want to be sure? Use the floor." Maybe I can get government funding for it.


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