Curious Thoughts by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog
Admit it! You have probably invoked the five second rule many times in your life. Maybe you tend to do it when no one else is around, but you do it nonetheless. No matter what some in society may say, you can not help yourself. You may think it just a little bit evil, but you do it anyway. You may even do it openly, not caring what others may think. Don’t worry. They do it too.
In case you are one of the few who have not heard about it and have not followed the widely disputed practice, the “Five Second Rule” is the belief that if you drop some food on the floor, it is alright to eat if you pick it up right away, say in five seconds. While common sense may speak against such a practice, some science seems to be coming down in favor of what once was folklore or an “old wives’ tale.” A recent study seems to suggest that a few seconds on the floor does not matter much. Your wet gummy bears are not likely to pick up much in the way of bacteria if you pick them up right away.
Unbelievably, dropping food on your carpet seems to pick up less bacteria than dropping it on your tile or linoleum floor. Of course, if you own a dog or a cat, the food item may pick up some animal hair or dander you might not want to pop in your mouth. Animal hair is basically a condiment in a hairy pet home. No matter how clean Fido looks to you, all that rolling around on the floor is not good for dropped food. You have to consider that Fido might beat you to the item, in which case your dog has the treat you lost and let’s face it, your dog never seems to get sick after eating food off the floor. Or from anywhere else including many items that are blatantly inedible. While I would not care to eat off my floors, considering what I know, I may be less reluctant elsewhere. You may have heard that Aunt Matilda’s house was so clean you could eat off the floors. That may literally be true, although I do not think I would try it on a dare.
Who funds this type of study, you may wonder? Who cares? This particular science is extremely important when you consider the number of people who drop food then pop it in their mouths. Isn’t it time we got the answer to this eternal question?
Does the five second rule exist? Now we know (or maybe we know, but let’s say we know). There are studies that say the opposite, but we’ll ignore them for now in the name of brevity.
Your life has its own Five Second Rule: The longer you are down, the more likely you are to pick up dirt. When you fall, are knocked down, trip, slip, or slide to the ground — whatever has caused you to land on your butt or face — get up and get moving. The world doesn’t look right when you’re on the floor. Forget science. The quicker you get up and move on, the better. If it has been a particularly bad day, it can be hard to convince yourself to get up. You may feel inclined to wallow for a while. Don’t do it. Like food on the floor, as long as you’re down, dirt accumulates. It’s the nature of life.
There is one more thing to consider while we are invoking scientific (?) studies. If you fall and stay down, you will look like a dropped treat to people-eating monsters. If you aren’t careful, one of them will scoop you up and pop you in his mouth. Another thing to know from the most recent study is that monsters have a longer time “safe” down time, like maybe a 5-day rule. Wallowing in the muck with one of Fido’s playmates can do you in. Being chomped on by monsters is definitely worse than eating candy off the floor. You have been warned.
See also: “Does the five second rule really work?”