Germs, Your Dog, & The 5 Second Rule

Fun things you can do at home to test your level of tolerance to bacteria and their ever-present place in your home!

We all grew up under the same simple rule of food handling we know as the 5 second rule:

Drop a piece of food on the floor and it’s safe to eat if you pick it up within 5 seconds.

We’ve always applied that simple rule to food dropped on the kitchen floor, but can it be that cut and dry? To what degree you hold it to be true is up to you, regardless of what others may think of your questionable eating habits. Who of us hasn’t dropped a pretzel or a potato chip on the floor and simply picked it up, shaken off any loose hairs, and jammed it in our face without thinking twice about it? But what about other everyday food stuffs. Consider that piece of jelly toast now feeding and shielding the bacteria on your floor from harm. Do you just pick it up, clear it of any visible foreign objects, and then send it to your stomach to deal with any hitchhiking bacteria, or do you simply throw it away?

Before you continue with the experiment of your body to digest and protect your organs from being scorched by the bacteria colonizing your kitchen floor, there should be a set of control questions in place to aid imageyou in your potentially fatal decision to pick up and eat that slice of jelly toast, and it’s best to have those answers in place before you drop that piece of toast since 5 seconds doesn’t give you much time to conduct a potentially self-harming experiment. I’ve provided some sample questions based on my own kitchen floor. Feel free to use them or tailor them to fit your own potentially hazardous decisions:

  • How long was the toast on the floor? Use the scientific 1 Mississippi…2 Mississippi…method of counting since it’s more precise than just counting to 5.
  • Is the jelly toast for breakfast (the most important meal of the day), or just a snack meant to help fulfill some long denied eating disorder?
  • Is it the last piece of bread? The potential to make another slice could aid in protecting your body from infectious diseases.
  • Was this the last of the jelly? Choosing to eat this slice of toast from the floor could be akin to swallowing a Petrie dish full of germs.
  • What kind of spread is on the toast? Was it your everyday Welch’s grape jelly or the more coveted Smuckers strawberry preserves? The decision to throw away strawberry preserves should not be taken lightly. For those of you with a microscope it might be fun to drop a slice of each and then count the bacteria on a sample size piece of toast to see how many different strands of bacteria are present on each slice.
  • Do you have a dog and was he present when you dropped your toast? I just happen to own a dog, but you can use a cat or a ferret if those are the pets you own.
  • Did your dog come away with some of your potential meal and how offensive do you find it to share your meal with him? If your answer to this question is extremely offensive, then feel free to discontinue your control questions here.
  • Does your dog scoot in the eating area of the kitchen after enjoying his morning constitutional in the yard? Scooting is the action of your dog sitting up straight and dragging his hind quarters along the floor. If the answer is yes, feel free to discontinue your control questions here.
  • Does the amount of loose dog hair on the floor seem to make it hard to discern where the dog ends and the floor begins? If the answer is yes, feel free to discontinue your control questions here and grab a broom or your other sweeping tool of choice.
  • Is your health insurance policy paid and up to date? This last question can’t be stressed enough, and if the answer is no, you might want to discontinue the control questions, give any remaining jelly toast to the dog and go get a nice apple or other piece of fruit to eat.

Can the 5 second rule also be applied to items other than food? To surfaces other than the kitchen floor? To other rooms in the house? The scientific answer to these questions lies not with the Environmental Protecrion Agency, or the Centers for Disease Control, or the American Medical Association (although I’m sure they know), but in your own house and with your own thirst for the knowledge of what the hell you’re eating or putting next to your skin.

Fot more scientific fun you can do at home, try these fun experiments (NOT RECOMMENDED, SERIOUSLY YOU COULD GET REAL SICK):

  • Drop the last slice of pizza or ice cream sandwich on your dog’s bedding; count to 5 Mississippi and then see if you have the chops to eat it.
  • Accidentally knock your open stick of deodorant into the toilet, again count to 5 Mississippi, and then roll it on. The results of your experiment should include the amount of time it took to get back into the shower and the cost of a new stick of deodorant.
  • For a period of one week use one iPad only in the bathrooms in your house and a different one for the other rooms. Complete the experiment by using the ultra-violet light emitted by your Star Wars light saber to detect and count the bacteria on each.
  • For a period of one week, in your bathroom, count the amount of hair around your shower, the toilet, and your sink. Your results should include how many, the average length in each area, color (if necessary), and what it is you think doing this proves, because I can’t think of anything.

Now you’re dropping science!
Scorched

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