Friday, January 8, 2010

Social Stigmas and Fruit Snacks

Last year around this time I often joked that I was going to give up social inhibitions for Lent. This came about because our culture deems unacceptable many activities with no obvious rational. Take skipping for example. Skipping is an activity that is considered thoroughly unmasculine and unacceptable for anyone over the age of 8. The only exception being if you find yourself in a field with daisies stretching out as far as the eye can see with a rainbow overhead and a jovial-faced sun looking on with a twinkle in its eye. I disagree with this social stigma. Anyone who has actually ever used skipping as a means of getting from here to there will tell you that it is quite physically demanding once you get past the first 7 or 8 skips. While on the topic of skipping I'd like to take this opportunity to challenge any and all interested to a skip race. Just know that I will dominate you. Skipping is just an example of many societal stigmas that are completely unfounded. While there are some such unjustified social norms, there are others that are, in fact, well-founded and are completely understandable. I submit the screaming of obscenities in public as an example. However, there is yet another category of social faux pas, those that aren't quite unacceptable, but not quite justifiable. I was recently brought face to face with one such enigma.This social stigma is one whose rationale I understand, but I'm not quite sure I accept as valid.
The societal standard in question? One must not eat food off of the ground.
To better understand the following events it must be understood that I, Samuel James Dunn, Esq., love fruit snacks. No matter the flavor, the brand, or the form they take I love them all. If ever I decide to treat myself and buy a box of fruit snack pouches, there is little chance of their lasting more than 48 hours. With that in mind, I present the following situation.
It was Monday afternoon. I had gotten up early that morning to go running before I had to be at work at 7:30 am. Having somewhat mismanaged my time in the morning I didn't eat breakfast nor pack a lunch for myself before leaving. (I was distracted by watching three of my roommates do P90X, two of whom nearly threw up from the physical exertion required of them. With some shame I admit that I found the situation somewhat humorous.) What with working for two hours, class for three hours and having returned again to work it was 3:00 pm and I had eaten naught but an apple that day. I guess what I'm trying to say is I was hungry. Quite hungry. As I was making my rounds through the art galleries, watching closely for anything out of place, my eyes lit upon a small green object on the ground up ahead. As I got closer my eyes grew larger as I saw what it was. It was a fruit snack. A small green candified portrayal of Goofy's face. It being a part of our job to pick up that which has been carelessly strewn aside by patrons I bent down to retrieve the offending object with the intent of tossing it in the rubbish bin. But as I held it in my hand and I gazed down at it, my stomach churned quietly and my famished condition was brought sharply to my recollection. I turned the fruit snack over in my hand and saw that it was clean and free from any obvious evidence of previous attempted consumption. However, as I was about to pop it in my mouth and think nothing more of it I remembered the famed 10 second rule and the fact that I had no idea how long that fruit snack had been sitting there on the gallery floor. As I thought about this, I thought about the numerous conversations I've had over the years about the validity of that same rule. I pondered the various health "risks" that might be associated with consuming this fruity piece of heaven. I decided to take it up to the info desk and ascertain my co-workers' thoughts on the subject. Kaitie was vehemently opposed to my eating it while Garrett was ambivalent and thought it'd be funny if I did. So basically they canceled each other out and I was left to decide for myself. I struggled with this dilemma for a couple of seconds and decided that the pleasure and satisfaction that is derived from eating fruit snacks far outweighed any possible risks. And I ate it.
Now before you go off judging and condemning me for this action I ask you to consider the following. I found the fruit snack in front of two different paintings of Christ, I have been vaccinated against the swine, and it was delicious. Was I in the wrong? Frankly my know the rest.


  1. I'm proud of you, Sammy. The floor is fair game. Especially the art museum floor. And especially for fruit snacks.

  2. Oh, you didn't. I'm pretty sure (meaning absolutely certain) that your mother taught you better than that. Despite the health risks associated, I would say it is bad manners to do such a thing. It makes others question whether you have had a decent meal in the last week, and it makes them uncomfortable. We all know that rule #1 of social etiquette is to make the other party feel at ease. Sorry man, I can't side with you on this one.

  3. I did some research concerning the rule in question some time ago and found that it has been scientifically proven valid for short periods of time (i.e. 5, 10 and even up to 30 seconds). Anything longer than that gets a little iffy. Having said that, I must agree with Maurianne that such actions would be considered bad manners and might tend to make others a little uncomfortable. If you were by yourself--well, that's a different story. How can it be bad manners if no one is around to be offended?* Under the right circumstances I just might have done the same thing for an m&m. ;)

    *please refer to the If-A-Tree-Falls-In-An-Empty-Forest-Does-It-Make-A-Sound Theory

  4. Sam. I am so glad that you consulted your coworkers. A social faux pas of this nature is best breached in the company of/ when witnessed by others. Wish I'd been there to say "Eww Gross!"

  5. Oh, how did you get so awesome? I miss the MOA!