Saturday, September 5, 2015

The cucumber you just ate might kill you.

     "Would you like some cucumber with that?" my wife asked, busying over the stove while I read the paper at the kitchen table.
     "What, in the eggs?" I said, wincing slightly. She was making eggs before our walk in the Botanic Garden Saturday morning.
     "No, on the side."   
     "Sure!" I said. 
     It's hard to wait, and a plate of sliced cucumbers was just the thing to nibble on. Healthy, cool, refreshing.
     "Cucumbers make a good appetizer," I observed, and she agreed.
    We ate our eggs, sipped our coffee, read our papers.  I kept working on the cucumber slices. One slice left.
    "Would you like the last slice?" I asked.
    "No, go ahead," she said. I ate it, reflecting on how much I like cucumber.
    "Let me check the computer and we'll go," I said. I like to keep tabs on the blog. 
     I go upstairs, call up Twitter. This is the first tweet I see: "Woman dies from tainted cucumber, prompting recall in 27 states."
     I click on the article and read it carefully.  Yes, Illinois is one of the 27 states.
    Well, I ate the first part of this particular cucumber ...Wednesday, in a salad. So if it were infected with salmonella, I would have figured it out by now. Whew.
     Or so I tried to reassure myself.
    Unless, that rebellious part of my brain that likes to cause trouble countered, the end you ate Wednesday wasn't the part with the salmonella. That was the part you and your wife ate just now!
     Can there be salmonella on one part and not another? It's just a certain bacteria, right? It can be just on one spot. On the other hand, the woman who died was 99 years old. A bout of salmonella, while unpleasant, probably won't kill me. 
     What would kill me—what is killing people—is inactivity. Earlier this morning I read an Economist story that inactivity, worldwide, is "the new smoking," and "a silent killer" that is now the fourth leading cause of death, after high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar. 
     "C'mon, let's go for our walk," I told my wife, heading downstairs after posting this. If I'm going to keel over, I want it to be at the Chicago Botanic Garden. 


  1. Thanks for the warning on the store cukes.

  2. Gosh! Wish I had read this earlier today instead of 9 at night! Served cucumber to hubby and daughter at dinner. Thank goodness I didn’t eat any. I won’t tell them what I read here — why worry them? I will keep an eye out though just in case one of them starts to keel over!


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