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File Under…


File under “Sorry we missed this one.”

New Years celebrators in London this New Year’s Eve were treated to  an interesting array of flavored fun-type  festivity-promoters.  Indeed! There was banana-flavored confetti, there were orange-scented bubbles, peach-flavored snow, for starters.  Mercy! 

So who first checked out this stuff?   Somebody just stuck out his/her tongue   and lapped up a healthy (?) portion of the spangles flying around in the air and thought, ”Hey!  Banana split time!  Bring on the syrup and ice cream!”   Really? Or somebody is thinking that it’s breakfast time  when bubbles burst on his/her party hat?  How anyone discovered that the snow tasted like peaches, considering what most city snow looks like, brings scary pictures to the imagination…well, mine at least.  Reminds me of that old Eskimo saying, “Don’t eat yellow snow.”

This is akin to the wondering about who was the first human to eat quite a number of things.  Who   decided that it would be O.K. to gobble up clams or oysters or lobsters or snails?  Raw?  Cooked?  Who figured out that certain things had to be done to certain substances before they could be eaten without uncomfortable, or even fatal, consequences?  Like cassava , a root which is a primary foodstuff in many tropical regions of the world.  It has to be soaked, squeezed and cooked before ingestion OR the secret ingredient—cyanide—will make any meal your last.  Or that Japanese delicacy, fugu,(literally, “river pig”, the pufferfish), which has body parts, mostly organs, like the liver, which are infused with a particularly virulent poison called tetrodotoxin that paralyzes the muscles while leaving the victim conscious of the fact that asphyxiation will be their culinary “Sayonara”.  Only trained and licensed chefs are allowed to cook the stuff but…accidents do happen.  This is WAY worse than lumpy gravy ( My dad always said that you could tell if the gravy was homemade if there were lumps in it.)!  Even mushrooms….  You’ve got to feel bad for the unfortunates that first figured out that not ALL mushrooms were all right to eat.  Actually, there is at least one variety that is so poisonous that just breathing in the itty-bitty spores that they give off will kill you.  Even easy stuff like some seeds and lentils (Think ricin, made from castor beans) can smack you upside the head—and maybe some other locations—if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Turns out that among the hunters & gatherers, the hunters out tracking down mastodons or super-size bison weren’t the only ones in danger.

On the other hand….

There are some cool things going on out there.

Take “Tips for Jesus.”

Somebody (perhaps several somebodies, once the word got out)is going around the country visiting   various restaurants and food establishments leaving outsized gratuities—tips—for astonished servers, presumably good ones.  The tabs are stamped with the Twitter handle @tipsfor jesus and bear an illegible signature.  Instagram has photos at the “Tips for Jesus” account; there are more than 50,000 followers.

How neat is that?!  

There was one waiter in Phoenix  shown with his $2500 tip.  In New York City a $1000 tip on a check was accompanied by a scrawled  “god bless.”  These enormous sums—up to $10,000—have often made the local papers and are often accompanied by touching back-stories of the recipients who are going to be able to go to school or take care of their children or their mother or take care of their health problems or whatever.  Touching, all of it.

Wouldn’t it be just the greatest thing to be the tipper?

And even closer to home, there is a box in the paper  today about a young wrestler who showed real class in a tournament match against…no, not AGAINST, WITH…an opponent who was competing as he dealt with personal challenges , lifelong.  The mentioned wrestler allowed his opponent to get his first take-down of the season and, totally without condescension , continued the action in the match as a learning experience and a triumph of sportsmanship.   The young men both won that one

There’s a tip for Jesus too.