Monday, February 08, 2010

The Skepticism of Rats

(Cross-posted to )

Here's an exercise in creativity. How would you start the following sentence?
"..., as rats are very skeptical of new things."

Yes, it's a real sentence I came across. Seriously. Stop for a second and think about it. What would be a good opening for it? Here are some of mine:

  • Don't try confidence games on rats, as rats are very skeptical of new things.
  • The newest fashion is wasted on rats, as rats are very skeptical of new things.
  • Rats haven't moved from myspace to facebook, as rats are very skeptical of new things.

If you've got good ideas, add them as comments to this post.

I'm taking the New York City online Food Protection Course, a course that all supervisors in restaurants and food establishments must take. This is not a backup career choice. It's a way to understand food safety better, and get a feel for what our Aunties (the internal nickname for sellers on auntieChef) have to go through.

Imagine my surprise as in the middle of this dry material about the proper way to wash dishes (you're all doing it wrong) and why that lasagna in the fridge must not be placed under the thawing chicken for tomorrow's dinner I suddenly come face to face with the very skeptical rat comment on the food safety course:

"Do not set up traps for several days to allow rats to become acclimated with the traps, as rats are very skeptical of new things."

This is so much more than rats just plain avoiding new things.

Imagine you're a rat, snooping around, minding your own business when suddenly, there's this new thing you didn't see before? You immediately rush to your friends to have a debate about it:

- Rodney, you there?
- Yep George. What's up?
- There's this new thing up there. Not sure what it is. Waddaya think?
- Hmm. New thing? What new thing?
- This thing, Rodney. This square thing with other thingies on top of it.
- Hmm. I'm not sure George. I know! We'll send Kenneth to check it out. He's gullible. He'll try anything.
- Hey Kenneth! Kenneth! Come over here a sec, we've got something for you to try. It's really cool.
- What is it Rodney?
- See that thing over there? It's a new Rat game. Go ahead - try it out. Jump on it a few times. Food will come out.
- Cool! Let me take a running leap and j...
- Well George, now we know. Stay away from it. I knew not to trust these new things.

Or maybe it means rats don't like change?

- Hey George, we're planning tonight's run. Your path is through there, as always. Just go around that new thing there.
- But we've always run that part straight, Rodney. It's the way we've always done it. Why should we change now? If it ain't broke and all that.
- Well George, would you believe it's because the competition is coming out with a new business model that will cause our sales to drop? No? Ok - just run it the way we've always done it.
- Hey Rodney, it's not a probl...

Well, off to the next chapter in the course where I'll find out which diseases can kill me when I eat at restaurants.

Don't forget to comment on this post, as rats are very skeptical of new things.