If You Give A Muffin MRSAPosted: January 15, 2014
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.
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?
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…