Saturday, 22 August 2009

Thrift and gluttony win the day

You know what I think? Swine flu, schmine flu. Earlier this week I invited forty-two students with varying but undocumented levels of personal hygiene to sniff a small container of dark chocolate, and a small container of coffee, and a small container of vegemite, another holding a spoonful of cumin, and another with the last drops of the Pert 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner I brought with me from Sydney in February 2007. Sniffing the containers was meant to get the class thinking about the relationship between bodies and subjectivity (this is what they're teaching the kids these days? aren't logarithms good enough anymore?), but what was exercising me as the containers hovered beneath each scholarly nose was whether a sensible person of average to slightly above average risk-aversion would consume tea, coffee, cumin, shampoo, vegemite, and, in particular, chocolate, after it had enjoyed such proximate relations to so many respiring young nostrils.

Who could tell, but in the interests of science, I decided to eat the chocolate. If I made it to the end of the week, I would know: there is no swine flu epidemic. Either that, or I am a person of superb robustity, and/or my experimental method needs some tweaking. But ruling out these last two possibilities, I am delighted to report that there is indeed no swine flu epidemic. Whether or not there has always been no swine flu epidemic I am not qualified to say. Having said that, many people are not qualified to say things, and yet say them nonetheless, and so I recommend the abolition of the states, a compulsory history-of-science subject for all science students, free public transport for all, showers only every second day, pepper instead of salt, community compost bins on every street corner, dogs in hospitals, and more novel reading. Also, something to do with swine flu. Can't remember what.

4 comments:

nailpolishblues said...

I wouldn't have gone anywhere near that chocolate. I think you very brave.

If I make it to the end of the fortnight without catching swine flu then I agree that it doesn't really exist.

Anonymous Bosch said...

Seems to be an experiment in microeconomics, Baron: risk vs reward, and all that. Clearly, chocolate has a high marginal utility to you and therefore raised your swine flu risk threshold. I'm guessing that Vegemite and shampoo - meh, not so much.

BTW, I am most emphatically not an economist. An economist is someone who, upon being shown something working in practice, wonders if it could possibly work in theory.

Maria said...

Exactly Bosch.

If she had invited them to sniff a Big Mac I am guessing it would ahve gone right in the bin.

Even if they had declined to sniff.

My WV is mikessell.

Mike's Sell?

Something to do with microeconomics i'm sure ...

who's mike?

Marshall-Stacks said...

I hope you wiped it on your jeans first. Chocolate is an irresistable force.

I just read on a perfume blog that parfumiers sniff coffee beans to refresh their nose during their days work concocting bottled fragrances.