Ithaca Blog

Monday, January 02, 2012

Six Saltines, But Not Seven

They say you should avoid controversial issues if you want happy family get-togethers at the holidays.

We emerged relatively (ahem) unscathed, but it was shaky ground for a while, with the proposition put forth, in conversation, that it is impossible to eat seven saltines in one minute without drinking anything.

Talk about a dialectic minefield. This is how it went, in part, alternatively rapid-fired and measured, among a table of 6 participants.

- I bet you can. They're so small.

- You just woof 'em down.

- Yeah. Saltines, come on, no problem. Little cracker.

- Yeah, but a little cracker that requires a lot of saliva. Seven? That's more saliva than you can supply in a minute.

- How do you know how much saliva I can supply in a minute?

- What if you store it up first for a while?

- That's cheating.

- It's still eating them.

- What if you naturally have a lot of saliva? I've known people who do.

- I bet it wouldn't matter. Saltines will absorb whatever saliva you got.

- Damn right they will.

- Then you got the matter of the bulk. There's your problem. The saltines absorb all that moisture and then they're not so small, anymore. You can pour on all the saliva you want. Saltines will absorb it with glee.

- Pal.

- Yeah.

So, there was disagreement. I guess the diplomatic aspect is that we left it at the speculative level. Although there were, reportedly, saltines in the house, we did not fetch them to launch science. Somebody would lose, that way. It went unspoken, but my supposition was that we would all try it at home, and the people who were correct about it would bring it up again sometime, and the losers would gain amnesia.

Because I bring it up, you can surmise my position. I came down on the side of impossible.

And, by scientific method? Six is do-able: just barely. Seven? Try it. I say never. Pal.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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