10 second rule…

“10 second rule”

How many times have we heard this from those who have dropped something delicious they didn’t want to not eat?

In fact i’ve heard all sorts of variations ranging from 2 to 15 seconds, which makes me wonder if different germs travel at different speeds. Is the common cold slower that, say, diphtheria? And does the rule vary depending on location? I suppose the 5 second rule may apply to the pavement, whereas the 40 minute rule may apply to, say, my plate.

I remember these sort of situations growing up.  My parents would scold my brother and I for attempting to pick up something we’d dropped in an attempt to put it in back our mouths, accompanied by the phrase, “Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been!”

Actually I do; the floor.

I never understood the difference between eating something I’d dropped and eating something that’s had a fly on it. Flies land on all sorts of shit, including shit. So how’s that different? I remember being told, “Oh it won’t kill you”.

If diphtheria is as fast as I think, it could.

And it doesn’t apply to everything you drop either. Drop a muffin and you’ll consider brushing off the grit, hair and other suspicious detritus and eating it, whereas a malteser can sod right off. No matter how much you blow on it…somehow it’s dirtier and more yuck than the cakey goodness of lemon poppyseed.

Now this brings me to the inspiration behind today’s incredibly overdue entry…

We won’t pick up a malteser, or a boiled sweet and we probably won’t pick up a sandwich either… and yet the other day I watched a guy drop a cigarette in the street, bend down, pick it up off the grimy, wet, footprint riddled pavement, brush it off, blow on it (clearly makes a difference) and then pop it in his mouth.

10 second rule.

Yet somehow this is deemed socially acceptable.  Pick up food and you’re gross; pick up a cancer inducing stick of death and you’re just doing the sensible thing.  Maybe it’s because they cost so much.  That said, I wouldn’t pick up and eat caviar I’d dropped on the floor… mostly because it resembles the crap on the floor you’ve dropped it in.

I once saw a woman drop a cigarette in a suspicious puddle on the dancefloor of a nightclub, pick it up, straighten it and then attempt to smoke it.  If that had been her drink would she have got on all fours and licked it up?

Actually, she probably would’ve… it was that sort of club.

But my point is, how come a cigarette is ok but some food isn’t?  If both have been dropped on the floor I know which one I’d put back in my mouth… the one that doesn’t slowly kill me.

5 thoughts on “10 second rule…

  1. I really think this is as simple question of what level of degradation somebody is at. When I got deep into drugs I hit picking up dog-ends, when I ended up sleeping rough I wouldnt think twice about grabbing a bag of chips out the bin. I don’t think degrees of cleanliness come into it, only degrees of how much u give a shit in general. I must add, I wldnt pick much up off he floor these days for any reason as my priorities have changed. I give a shit now. The bloke who picked the fag butt up, no matter how well dressed, & however he wld prob deny it, has something in common with the tramp. I kind of envy him for his carefree nature.

    • I must admit you make a good point. I think for me it was the casual and unexpected way he did it. I’ve seen homeless people do it a hundred times (this was London after all) and I get that… but this guy had shopping, was well dressed etc.
      I think it was the sheer “oh wow, did he just…? Yep, he did”

      As you say, a carefree ‘I don’t give a shit’ approach.

      Maybe we should take a leaf out of his book. Well, except maybe the trodden on dog ends.

      • It must’ve been a strange sight! Yes we really should – I saw so much waste back then (infact I produce so much now), there used to be skips full of packs of perfectly good sandwiches behind big chain stores that we wld raid & most stores would lock them up (?!) so no one could get at them. It’s certainly something to think about. Love your blog btw.

        • Not so much a strange sight (as i work in London…i’ve seen it all!), but more of a surprising sight!

          I can’t understand why stores would lock up their old sandwiches….it’s either cruel or thoughtless. Maybe a little from column A, and a little from column B….

          I’m glad you’re liking the blog. I really appreciate the feedback and comments.


  2. Pingback: Cigawretch | Head In A Blender

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