My Family (a long time ago)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Last One

Bring a pan of brownies to a party and you’re a hero. Everybody loves brownies. I only know one person who doesn’t like them, but he doesn’t like anything chocolate (I know, can you believe that?). Everyone oohs and aahs when they see the brownies and you barely get them down on the table and people are grabbing them. It’s like a shark feeding frenzy, especially if there are teenagers around. It seems like nobody is bashful about taking one – until there’s only one left.

Why are so many people afraid to take the last one of anything, whether it’s brownies, cookies, cake, muffins, doughnuts – pretty much any food item? It’s almost like they’re afraid they will be cursed for life if they do. Or maybe it’s the Homer Factor. Homer Simpson wouldn’t worry about eating the last one of anything and maybe they don’t want to be seen as being like him.

Whether due to a supposed curse or the Homer Factor, people won’t take the entire last one, but they’re perfectly willing to take part of it. Maybe like half. The problem is that someone else comes along and takes half of the half that’s left, and sometime later another person takes half of the half of the half. For those of you who aren’t mathematically inclined, that would be 1/8 of the last brownie, cookie, piece of cake, muffin or doughnut. That’s a pretty small piece of something.

Last week at work there were some Dunkin Donuts muffins left over from an early morning meeting, including one of those incredible coffee cake muffins that was calling my name. Somehow I resisted and about a half an hour later I went into the kitchen to refill my water and, you guessed it, there was half of the muffin left. An hour or so later I returned to the kitchen, and when I peaked into the box I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a paper-thin slice of coffee cake muffin left. Seriously? First of all, I don’t see how anyone could have cut the muffin with and left a slice that thin. I could practically see through it. Secondly, why not just eat the rest of it? The piece that was left couldn’t have had more than 1 calorie so I don’t think its going to blow anyone’s diet. Curse or Homer Factor? You decide.

Growing up, we weren’t afraid of any curse for taking the last brownie and the Simpsons weren’t even a thought in Matt Groening’s head. When Mom made brownies or cookies they didn’t last long. Everyone got their share (2 small brownies the way Mom cut them or 3 cookies) and then the rest were up for grabs. When you went back later all that was left was a few crumbs, maybe some melted chocolate chip residue on the plate. Feeling bad because you ate 3 brownies or 4 cookies? I don’t think so. Be polite and leave the last one for your little brother? Definitely not. We came, we ate and we left nothing behind.

So the next time I see a leftover coffee cake muffin in the kitchen at work, I’m taking it. Not half of it, but all of it. I won’t feel bad and I won’t feel guilty. And I won’t be worrying about any curse.

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