the five second rule

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You know that rule.

The rule states that if you drop something on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up. Five seconds before the bacteria infect it. Be quick, be safe.

I have a mental image of these armies of slow moving bacteria marching towards the discarded food. Bacteria armies that bizarrely aren’t on the exact spot the food fell, but are somehow always precisely five seconds away. They respond like a shark to the scent of blood. Swooping onto the food to a five second deadline, moving to the sound of ‘dum dum, dum dum’ like a menacing time countdown sounding out the impending infection.

The reality is that there are probably more bacteria on the plate the food fell off, in the air you are breathing, on your fingers picking the food up…

In essence the rule is a fabrication, albeit a useful one when you drop a piece of your best chocolate. Nom nom nom. No point wasting that!

Often our own rules are inventions too. Fabrications. Untruths.

Rules about what we can do, or can’t do. Should do, or mustn’t do. Rules about cause and effect. This means that.

Yet we live our lives by them. We behave strangely, yet to a recognisable pattern, as befits the rule and its purpose. In much the same way as the five second rule gets us reaching down quickly for the food, looking at it, like the bacteria will be waving back at us, or will have inexplicably made the food luminous green. Blowing on it, like the bacteria will fly off, descending in tiny parachutes back to the floor to await the next food spillage, thus cleansing the said food morsel.

Fantasy. Yet played out like the truth.

 

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