Bitten by the five second rule.

Uh, yeah. What I ate? Nowhere in this picture.

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I adhere to the ‘five second rule.’  Not because I have kids, but because as a child my father would say to us when we dropped something edible on the ground, “It’s Vitamin “D” [as in dirt].  Good for you.”  In hindsight, I know that he instructed us thusly because he is a tight ass cheapskate frugal soul who worried about starving children in India his wallet our planet.

For my 27 years alive (plus a few), I have put the five second rule into practice with no mishaps.  This ended tragically recently.

I was writing.   I like to reward myself with snacks while I write.   Write 100 words, get a cookie, write 100 words, have some ice cream, write 100 words, book your liposuction.  And so on.

I was noshing from a bag of expensive, school-fundraiser, whole salted cashews.  Not only were they worth their weight in gold, but the little suckers tasted much better than my generic brand cashew pieces.  Heaven.

A cashew spurted out of my hand across the room and hit the floor.  Hmmm, I’ll get that next time I’m up. Later, I did just that.  Yummy.  I looked down at the floor and saw what I believed to be (ah, belief, you fickle friend) a broken piece from my whole, recently-consumed yummy salted cashew.  I popped it in my mouth and chomped.

Only, it wasn’t a cashew.

It took only one chew to know for sure THIS WAS NO FREAKIN’ CASHEW.  It didn’t crunch like a cashew, it stuck to my teeth, and it didn’t emit that oily salty goodness of cashew.

Gwack.  Gwack.  Gwack.

I started gagging before I reached full speed as I careened through the house.

Gwack.  Gwack. Gwack.

“Mom, what’s wrong?!?” Clark asked.


Honey?” Eric said.


By now a three-foot long drool trail streamed behind me, and I foamed from the corners of my mouth.  I reached the kitchen sink and started splashing water up into the accident site.  Splash.  Swish.  Spit.  Splash.  Swish.  Spit.

“Pamela, what ARE you doing?”  Eric asked.

I tested my progress by gently closing my mouth until my teeth met.

GWACK.  It was still there.  It was like I had bird poo — crunchy on the outside, gooey-sticky in the center — molded and stuck against my tooth.  GWACK.

I reached back to my molars and scraped frantically with my fingernail, trying to get whatever it was off my teeth.  Something that tasted nothing like cashews  (don’t think about it) fell from my tooth onto my tongue.

GWACK.  Splash.  Swish.  Spit.

Clark and Eric both stood beside me now, their eyes wide, helpless to figure out what was going on, unable to assist, Eric with one hand on speed dial for the wacky ward.

“Five second rule…not a cashew…stuck to my teeth,”  I gasped.

I dashed to the bathroom, desperate to unload the full force of my Braun Oral B Triumph and half a tube of Colgate Total on this bad boy.


By now, my devoted husband and son were also in the bathroom.  You might imagine them expressing concern or running for the ipecac, but no.  I think Eric actually peed himself laughing, and Clark, all 5’11” of him, rolled around in the bathroom floor howling, crying — real tears, I swear — and pointing at me.

When Eric had changed his drawers and resumed his composure, he said, “I’ll bet you wish you hadn’t gotten rid of the cleaning service two months ago.”

* Yes, that is how long it has been since anyone cleaned the floor in question.  I’m a writer, a mom, a wife, an attorney, a consultant, an athlete, but I am NOT a housekeeper. *

“Mom, what if it’s from one of the dogs or Juliet [the cat]?” Clark asked.


I’m even gwacking a little again as I type this story.  Oh well.  I didn’t end up sick, at least.  We’ll never know what I ingested, but I won’t ever look at the five second rule in quite the same way again.

And I know what my dad would say, “Hopefully it was a good source of protein.”


Published by Pamela

edit biographydelete Biography Pamela writes overly long e-mails and the What Doesn't Kill You romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, TX and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, WY. Pamela is passionate about hiking with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.

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  1. Buahahahahah! I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you. I too follow the five second rule, especially if it is a perfect chip! I’ve even done so with a rock hard scoop of ice cream (poor college days). Oh goodness, I had a gwack-inducing five second rule incident a few months ago. There was hair on it – let’s just say it wasn’t from the head and it wasn’t mine – gak! Sorry for the tmi. Thanks for the laugh and nice to know I’m not the only one! Glad Eric and Clark got a kick out of it. It’s best you not know what you popped into your mouth…

  2. Oh man that was funny, the panic on your face. At first I was genuinely worried thought you were choking or something.

  3. Pamela,
    first thing- right now, get your cleaning service back- I told LT I will go without electricity before I give my housekeeper up 😉
    –I read your post out loud to LT & he laughed OutLoud-certainly should tell you the talent you have in writing- so look forward to your posts, do not want them to end —

    1. It makes my day when people laugh, but I like it even better when they spew coffee, so wait until he has a full mouth next time 🙂
      Seriously, thanks!
      And tell that man I am not sure I should be consorting with illegal aliens right before my drivers license renewal!! I could get profiled!!!

  4. OMG…I laughed so hard.
    I’m so curious now as to what you popped in your mouth.
    I’m probably gonna think about it all day.
    You painted a nice picture for us but I think *gwack* really sealed it.
    It’s a great word.
    Also my middle name.
    How did you know?

    1. Well, I think what it means is 5 seconds means get down on the floor with a magnifying glass and check that sucker out before you pop it in your mouth…
      My dad rocks! Thanks Grace.

  5. I am with you – I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS. Knowing is far worse than not. Knowing would mean that forever and ever you would know exactly that you had “such and such” in your mouth. Then you’d gwack all over again, with projectiles. I have sympathetic shivers. Thank goodness I wasn’t drinking or swallowing when I read this. My keyboard can’t take anymore mishaps.

    1. Someone emailed me and suggested it might have been a slug. After I laughed, I started worrying about it. Now, I know it wasn’t a slug in my room. (Was it?) But I can’t quit thinking about it!!!

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