Guest Columnist - John Ropa
Posted: October 29, 2010
The older I get, the more I tend to ponder. Pondering is a quiet exercise, aimed at identifying and examining any one of many inexplicable truths.
For example, I note that few people core an apple bottom side up, even though the top of the apple would often form a much sturdier base, particularly if it's a Delicious.
A larger number, when taking a handful of potato chips, will either augment their original selection with another few chips or will put some back. Further, nearly everone turns on a flashlight before it's necessary to light up, and it is almost impossible to unwrap a quarter pound of butter (or margarine) without making a tiny tear in the paper.
Finally, why would anyone put a spread on the salted side of a saltine cracker? That defeats the whole purpose of the cracker, i.e. to put salt into immediate contact with one's tongue.
Contemplating saltines further, I have discovered a marvelous piece of symmetry. A prepackaged slice of American cheese, when split into four equal parts, fits exactly on four saltine crackers. Since saltines have been around longer than prepackaged cheese, the cheesemakers must have taken this into consideration when they sized the slice. In addition, in the box of saltines, there are four interior packages, each containing exactly 28 crackers which will accommodate exactly seven slices of cheese. To make the symmetry perfrect, however, there would have to be 28 slices in each retail pack of cheese, but, alas, there are only 12, 18 or 24 - none divisible by seven. I don't know what they were thinking.
Imagine what would happen if the cheesemakers were to make a unilateral, significant change in the size of the slices. The new dimensions would likely throw the saltine industry into chaos, and who knows what the impact would be on the economy?
I am aware that there are round crackers, but they are generally relegated to the use of spreads, for I don't know of any cheesemaker who has sized his product to accommodate roundness. I wonder if the cheesemakers are missing an opportunity. I also wonder if there is a more scientific term for "cheesemaker ".
Each of these observations is the result of an unscientific poll, whose margin of error is plus or minus one hundred percent.
And no one eats popcorn one kernel at a time.