Would you eat this?

WOULD YOU EAT THIS BURGER?
WHAT ABOUT THIS BURGER?

So, would you eat either burger? Was your answer the same each time? Unless you are a vegetarian, I bet you were highly inclined to eat the first burger and grossed out by the second one. Why? Other than one is half-eaten by someone who isn’t you, what is the difference between the two pictured burgers?

The answer is everything. Absolutely everything is different. Even if just one bite had been taken out of the first burger, the answer becomes a hard and fast no way Jose! The second burger becomes instantly disgusting once someone has it in there obviously grimy hands and puts it into their obviously germy mouths. Yuck!

No matter what, you instantly imagine that this is who ate the first half…

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Gross right? Of course! So what would, if anything, tip the scales to creating a yes to the second burger? For example, what if you knew as an absolute fact that the person who ate the other half if is…

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New answer or is that burger still all things gross, nasty and disgusting? Hmmm, what if you witness a friend at your table eat the first half, get full and offer it up, is that okay? Likely not but how close you are to the friend matters. If it’s a significant other, or close family member, the likelihood of a yes increases five-fold. Better yet, your super close friend or loved one takes it home, puts it in the fridge and offers the leftover as ‘free game’ to anyone who wants it. Is that actually better or do you still not want it?

Oh, before you ask, no it doesn’t matter that some sweaty, pimply faced teen crafted this epic burger in the small confines of a steamy, crowded kitchen. Who cares that the burger shared grill space with some other undesirable food or that it is pinker than your ordered it to be. That is not part of the actual eating process. Being presented with a half-eaten burger is.

The truth of the matter goes well beyond burgers. The truth is that no matter how gross you actually are, you find others to be gross times infinity in a puddle of mud at the base of a trash heap. You can control your own level of cleanliness but not that of others and thus they are all toxic dumps waiting to ruin your germ-free self.

Whether it is sharing, or not sharing, food, having someone invade your space on a crowded T in downtown Boston or observing anyone sneeze in the same space as you are – the conclusion is always the same. I am Mr. Clean and you are super gross so don’t eat, touch or get near me or anything that can be perceived as mine.

But before you ride off into the sunset on your high horse, and me on mine, to go watch Contagion and feel good about ourselves, remember that regardless of how attractive we are, we all look like this when we eat a burger…

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