AS you celebrate this holiday weekend, you may think the only possible hazards to your health are chocolate overdose or a surfeit of ham. Well, aren’t you the lackadaisical bunny.
It turns out that in the wrong hands, food has all kinds of unexpectedly alarming potential. I was alerted to this by last week’s story in the Telegraph, which was echoed in the media all over Great Britain. Tri-cornered snacks had been wrenched off the menu at Castle View School on Canvey Island, Essex, after a hair-raising injury.
The trouble began when a Year 7 boy incurred a “sore eye” after a schoolmate tossed a triangular oat bar, known there as a flapjack, at his head. The victim was sent home, likely weeping right up until he got to his X-Box. Within hours, the school manager had informed its cooks that rectangular and square snacks would henceforth be the rule, with triangles banned.
Naturally, the news had the Telegraph’s Internet commenters a-twitter.
“Perhaps it was an assault flapjack,” wrote somebody with the online handle Exile.
“Perhaps the kids should wear flap jackets?” quipped another contributor, called Knight.
Yet another suggested that parents adopt the logic of America’s National Rifle Association: Instead of prohibiting oat weaponry, students should all be encouraged to arm themselves with triangular snacks.
“I hope the kids throw rectangles at the school board,” one flapjack enthusiast chimed in.
“Can’t we have flapjills, too?” asked Alieninpa, out of left field. “I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that nice treats must have male names.”
The Independent’s rendition of the story noted that this wasn’t the country’s first flapjack incident. Education Secretary Michael Gove was once prevented from taking homemade flapjacks into a cabinet meeting because they were deemed a security risk, though perhaps that was simply a reflection on whoever baked them.
The Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog invited readers to share their own food-related injuries. Some remained obsessed with the topic of flapjack-related peril.
“Back in nam, I had to kill a man, with a triangular cut flapjack,” a contributor confessed. “It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t painless.”
Puzzledmonkey had a simple solution to the problem. “Ban children in schools!”
Some contributors went on wild punning sprees.
“Dangerous flapjacks – cereal killers,” SeppBlatter suggested.
“There’s a book about that by Agatha Rice Crispie,” responded Doubleyootee.
“On one occasion, my leg’s (sic) turned to jelly but I was alright in a trifle,” offered Nocausetoadopt, prompting Jim Nolan to respond, “My ex threw a trifle at me when we were arguing about who would take the kids. I got custardy.”
Other online correspondents are as dry as rusks.
“You know when you buy electrical items and the pack contains those little squares marked Do Not Eat. They taste horrible,” MisterSnoobs confided.
“I once broke my front teeth in a restaurant, struggling to eat a T-bone steak. It belonged to the bloke (at) the next table,” claimed Foolsgold.
The rest of the many respondents shared woeful tales of palate-puncturing fruit pastilles and horror stories about the dental threats of Toblerones. Using sharp knives to chop fruit, open cans of corned beef, slice between oyster shells and crack open baguettes turned out to be as brutally injurious as slipping on an olive in the home décor store Habitat.
Tonymcgowan warned of the Pop Tart Improvised Explosive Device (PTIED), whose jam interior allegedly emerges from the toaster at the same temperature as that of the sun.
One woman bemoaned the scalding effect of dropping a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich in her cleavage, an image that, cinematically speaking, evoked silly Bridget Jones much more than it did the suggestive food scene in Tom Jones. Still, buxom klutzes can relate.
The Word of Mouth blog prompted non-sequiturs and stories of near misses. “I opened a can of evaporated milk and it was empty!” complained Folland. AnoelYor wrote nostalgically of the breakfast in bed that she and her sister made for their mother as tykes. It consisted of bread, a mug of cold water with a tea bag, and a mound of frozen peas, which they had sprayed with de-icer. “Good job she didn’t eat it,” said she.
Of course, many had brought their troubles on themselves, including the woman who threw a greasy roast goose at her husband in some Christmas squabble. Her floor was slippery as an ice rink for weeks.
And then there was the story of Stalky. I’m sorry to conclude that he must be male, because Stalky once put a whole unpeeled orange in his mouth on a dare.
“I was at an age when you do stupid things like this quite frequently but even so, I properly panicked when I realized that once it was past my teeth, it wasn’t going to come back out,” he recalled. “After ten agonizing minutes of stabbing at the orange with a fork, I finally got the thing out in several juicy pieces so I suffered no major injuries. Unlike my friend who was helplessly laughing so very hard he fell over backwards, hit his head and passed out.”