Roger Bothwell | The M&M
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The M&M

I dropped an M&M on the floor – a red one.  I had 2 seconds to retrieve it.  But I was slow on the draw.  Locating it and bending over took at least twice that amount of time.  But wait, I was still within the 5 second rule.   Should I or should I not?  If it had been a brussel sprout would I have even pondered?  Dropping it would have been a boon.  I would not have to eat it.  But this was an M&M.  It had that crispy coating over that amazing drop of chocolate.  This was not a Brussel Sprout this was a tragedy, unless the 5 second rule applied.
 
Ah, the intrigue and power of rationalization.  Now, I know that bacteria are transferred instantly onto a fallen object, that is if it lands on the bacteria.  But what if this was a clean place on the floor?   And research does show that a full minute on the floor will contaminate the fallen object ten times as much over that of an object retrieved within 5 seconds.
 
Was I about to risk my health anymore than if I ate a bowl of ice cream?  I have no idea who sneezed at the ice cream factory or the health of the scooper/server at Friendly’s. Is anything we eat really clean?  And furthermore just this morning I received a huge dose of antibodies.  I mean huge.  It took four hours to run it through a tiny needle into my arm.  (I have to do this once a month – aftermath of many kinds of chemo.)  Right now at this very moment I am as safe from disease as I will ever be.
 
More importantly – this relates to so many other aspects of right and wrong.