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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pucker up, Mr. Lemon Slice

I got a safety tip from my sister today. Thanks for the tip, Sis, I'm grateful you care. It was a short movie clip warning us of the germ content of a normal, everyday lemon slice in your restaurant beverage. I'll spare readers the download, it was a big Windows WMV file.

However, I have a counter argument for this story. Not to sound like an ostrich with my head in the sand here, but wouldn’t this suggest that EVERYTHING in the restaurant could make me sick? If the citric acid content of the lemon can’t kill a few fecal mouse germs then, the silverware, the dishes, the condiments on my plate, the salad are all suspect, too. I'm sure that many of these things are also served without the handler wearing gloves.

Yeah, I know. Lynn has been witness to my own body's severe reaction to a misadventure with a raw oyster; a personal problem with an allergic reaction more than a run-of-the-mill germ overload. My belief is that...grossness of the idea notwithstanding...if I don’t ingest a reasonable amount of germs during a day, my immune system won’t have the opportunity to build it’s defenses. The more we fear and avoid germs, the more we give them power over us. Just look at the trouble we’re having with ineffective antibiotics now.

Yes, I do the obvious things that keep me safe without lot’s of extra effort: I wear my seatbelt, I wash my hands after going to the bathroom, I try to steer clear of knowingly drinking and eating out of the same vessels as others, I don’t smoke, I don’t run out onto icy lakes, I don’t dive headfirst into shallow pools, I don’t have unprotected sex with strangers. But lets keep it reasonable. I think our fears of the unknown and unseen can be better channeled toward things like going out into the dark with a flashlight, not answering the door when you’re alone without finding out who’s out there first, not replying to every email that tells you they’ve got a great deal on a Rolex watch, Coach bag or a hot stock tip that can’t go wrong, not driving into a low-lying desert wash when there’s water already running through it! I may be struck down next week by e. coli, but I think we should save the fear for the larger dangers out there, and take a little, tiny gamble on that lemon slice in the iced tea. (My allergy to raw oysters is no longer a gamble for me...it's a proven fact.)

I'm sure many of you out there never worry about anything like this, but many others are consumed with fears of so many things they'd just as soon never venture out. I know one person who won't eat anything soy, and steers all females she can away from it, but she smokes like a chimney! But, somewhere in the middle is the land of "reason and moderation."

Do you agree? Have a special fear you feel is worthy of passing around. Add your comment!

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