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If You Give A Muffin MRSA

A muffin, presumably without MRSA. (image public domain, wikimedia)

I respect people who work in restaurants and bars. Waiting tables, preparing meals and tending bar are physically demanding jobs that put the people who do them in touch with some unpleasant, ungrateful people.

That said, there are certain things that are uncool for them to do. Once, I walked past a guy smoking while he sat on a trash can in front of a sandwich shop. He came in to make my sandwich and didn’t bother washing his hands. I realized in that moment that I was mistaken about being hungry.

I’ve also started walking out of restaurants if I realize that someone involved in handling my food has those long fake fingernails. I’m not a germ freak, but those nails just seem like big ladles of e-coli.

Just The Other Day

I’m usually a light breakfast guy when I’m at home; sometimes I even skip it. But if I’m out, I have to stop and eat breakfast. And so it was that I found myself at Panera Bread.

It was quiet when I walked in; I was the only customer. I ordered a blueberry muffin and the nice woman behind the counter got it for me.

Shhhhh, it’s MRSA. (public domain via wikimedia)

As I walked away, the manager started talking to the muffin getting woman:

Manager: It’s great to have you back.

Muffin Getting Woman: Thank you.

Manager: You were out a while.

Muffin Getting Woman: Yes, MRSA really got me bad.

A Few Thoughts From The Guy Who Was Getting A Napkin

You might imagine that hearing this conversation as I was grabbing a napkin caused me some concern.

I know that muffins are not on the Center For Disease Control’s list of ways to transmit flesh-eating bacteria. But there are things you don’t say in certain places. You don’t yell fire in a movie theater. When you’re in the airport security line, you never say that the movie you saw last week was a bomb. And you never invoke the name of the most popular flesh-eating bacteria when you’re in restaurants or medical facilities.

I wish I knew why the Muffin Getting Woman felt compelled to reveal her diagnosis aloud. Her boss likely knew how sick she was. Speaking the name of the illness was just belaboring the point.

The Obvious Question

That morning, I sat looking at the muffin. The muffin stared back through seventeen blue eyes. We regarded one another for a long time.

Intellectually, I knew that I could not get MRSA from a muffin. And this poor woman who’d battled against a potentially fatal illness and won, I felt for her. She clearly was just getting back to work, how long had she been sick and without an income?

The Parts Of A Muffin

The Parts Of A Muffin

And yet, that muffin and I sat there…one of us not noshing, the other not nourishing, Neither of us fulfilled our roles because a line was crossed by a third-party who dared speak the name of a dreadful illness.

In the end, I ate the top of the muffin, because that’s the most succulent part of the muffin. But it was perfunctory. Eating it was an exercise that I took no pleasure in.

If only she’d considered that I was in earshot…

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24 Comments on “If You Give A Muffin MRSA”

  1. Maybe they do that skit every morning to play with customers. Maybe it was all a joke. Hopefully.

    I had Panera last night for dinner. Do you think I’m ok?

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    It’s just a matter of perspective. Perhaps the antioxidants in the blue berries will act like white blood cells and kill any MSRA bacteria that may have resided on your muffin. It’s also equally likely that you will win the lottery next time you play.

  3. Panera is just starting to come into Ontario now. There aren’t that many of them around yet. Monday we stopped at one on our way to Niagara Falls for a loaf of bread and they were out. We really like that bread so when we ended up crossing over to the American side we sought it out at a Panera in the US. I have a feeling you would have saved us a trip if I had read this on Monday morning. Just as you know you can’t catch that disease from eating the muffin, I know it isn’t running rampant through all Paneras but it would still be iffy.

  4. Wendi says:

    You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
    You don’t spit into the wind
    You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
    And you don’t talk about having MRSA while handling food.
    The end.

    However, I think this is the next logical installment of the children’s book series If You Give A…. Libby enjoys If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Maybe she’d like If You Give A Muffin MRSA.

  5. I agree. Some things you simply keep to yourself. Unfortunately, some people just don’t get this at all. I’ve had the experience of watching someone make me a smoothie while he wiped his nose all over his hands. Uh, no thanks! It really spoils the appetite. I called him on it and someone else made me another, but by that time my appetite was gone. I didn’t want it anymore!

  6. Debbie says:

    You’re braver than I am. I’d have *never* eaten that muffin, regardless of how hungry I was or how intriguing those 17 blue eyes were. I’d have left the thing on the table and walked out, probably fumigating my change along the way!

  7. Panera is getting a lot of bad ink these days for finding fault with a young girl’s squeaky leg braces, and now this?! Time for some damage control. Everyone knows the top of the muffin is the most desirable (unless we’re referring to poor fitting pants on chubby folk), but the portion below the paper-line was probably safer from MRSA contamination. I hope the blueberries weren’t grown with GMO’s added….

    • omawarisan says:

      And they had something that looked like the top of a muffin, yet it was a faux muffin top. Any place that markets a faux muffin top is ethically challenged…and then there’s the girl.

  8. Of course, if you had chosen a PUMPKIN muffin you would have been JUST FINE. But a blueberry muffin + MRSA? That’s Russian Roulette — but I’m so glad you won :)

  9. dentaleggs says:

    Hope there was a plethora of lovely blueberries on your muffin top.

  10. Several years ago my husband and I were at the movies. In the men’s restroom he noticed a food worker use the urinal and return to the food counter without washing his hands. Now THAT is gross and fire-able I would believe. Yet the theater manager wouldn’t do anything until my husband asked for His boss’ name! Don’t know what the outcome was but we didn’t stay, didn’t go back to that theater and we eat beforehand just to be on the safe side.

  11. spencercourt says:

    I try to avoid places that prepare “fast” food with their bare hands. Many places here, such as Subway, use those disposal gloves.

  12. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    OMA! This was brilliant and brilliantly funny! You do this thing so well – you are a master at writing about the seemingly inconsequential, but turning it into something quite different – and, in this case, alarming. Brave you for eating the muffin top. My gosh. She’s back at work. I’m happy for her, but couldn’t she wear a haz mat suit for a little while?

  13. robincoyle says:

    I feel the same way about the gross long fake nails. Give me genuine long nails any day. Good luck recovering from MRSA.


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