Sugar Makes You Dumber? Rats!

 

With a goal to enlighten and entertain, we bring you the following rat tale:

 

Ron's new buddy was a whiz at I.T.

Ron over imbibed at the company party and was talked into donning a stunning new donut hat.

In a report from MSNBC.MSN.com we learn of a recent study, which demonstrates rats put on a strict diet high in sugar are dumber than those put on a diet high in Omega-3 fats. RATS! Why does it always work this way? Why can’t those stupid rats get smarter eating donuts? And why should I care what rats eat anyway? I’m not a rat—at least to most people who know me.

 

Perhaps we need to rethink our whole relationship to rats. In my book we put far too much credence in what happens to rats loaded up on mega doses of certain foods, vitamins, nutrients, or drugs. Don’t we already know the risks of eating an “unbalanced” diet without asking furry little rodents? And haven’t we all heard Mom, Dad or Aunt Millie say, “If you eat too many carrots you’ll turn orange?” So tell me this dear friend: Why in the name of all things wholesome would we feed rats sugar for several weeks and expect everything to turn out okay? Don’t we already know something will happen—something really, really bad?

 

Let’s Put This Perspective…

 

Pretty soon my drive to get a donut took over.

The moment Ida Mae rang her bell Chet marched down the aisle in search of a donut.

Imagine you’re at work and the big bosses are doing a study on productivity. They’ve tasked the department’s Admin, Ida Mae, to bring in a box of donuts to feed your unit twice a day. You receive an email announcing donut goodness can be had in cubicle 3, row 10. As if your manager zapped your patoody with a cattle prod, you jump to your feet and race to the predesignated spot with the rest of your unit a half-step behind you. Performing a lightning quick scan, you snatch up the biggest maple bar in the bunch. Okay, maybe you went for jelly donut, but the idea’s the same.

 

Feeling smug about your Olympic champion donut gathering abilities you casually meander back to your desk to gorge on your deep-fried sugar snack. As you swallow your last bite you decide you’re parched, so you rush to the vending machine and grab a large cola to wash everything down.

 

Must have donut!

Approximately 4 hours after your last donut a new craving hits.

All is well for the next half hour as your blood sugar spikes. You feel a little more alert and crank out a couple emails. You have a sense the day will be productive. Suddenly, your eyes glaze over like the glaze on top the donut you just ate. Your blood sugar crashes. You have to prop open your eyelids with paper clips to stay awake, only you can’t find two the same size so the world looks lopsided. Your stomach starts gurgling and expands to twice its normal size as the food and liquid inside bubble and churn. “Whoa,” you moan. “I don’t feel so good.”

 

Of course, by mid-afternoon, you’re hungry again and have forgotten the pain from the morning so you repeat the exercise. In fact, you repeat it twice a day thereafter for the next six weeks.

 

By week six, you feel like you’re walking around with a perpetual hangover. You’ve gained 47 pounds and can no longer run to the donut trough. Instead, you’ve figured out how you can stay in your office chair, roll down the aisle to collect your donut, roll over to the vending machine, and then roll back to your cubicle. You also note Ida Mae no longer sends out an email announcing the donuts are available in cubicle 3. Instead, she’s conditioned everyone to start for the donuts as soon as they hear her ring the bell. Of course, the moment you hear it you immediately start drooling. It’s like Homer Simpson: Your eyes and head roll back, your jaw drops, your tongue lists to one side, and you march off for your donut fix like a zombie.

 

We Need A Consultant!

 

The big bosses hire a consultant to tabulate the results of their study, since they sure as heck don’t want the responsibility if the board hates the results. It’s safer to blame the consultant!

 

The consultant, Mr. Grimm, goes to work. He calls Mr. Server in I.T. and asks for a breakdown of all computer activity on everyone in the study. He also calls in Xavier Ray (known as X to his friends) from security and asks for the video footage of the employees as they go throughout their day. For the purposes of establishing a control, he then asks for a breakdown of the activity in another unit of the company who were fed a diet of nothing but fish for six weeks. With the information collected, he starts tabulating the results.

 

Here’s what Mr. Grimm discovers and believe me it’s grim.

 

Mr. Grimm's first report to the big bosses.

The donut group wishes to thank Mr. Grimm for the donuts. The fish group hopes Mr. Grimm will die drowning.

 

One look at the chart and the big bosses know they have a problem: The donut group is an entire 18 minutes ahead of the fish group when it comes to getting the job done! It makes no sense. Those donuts aren’t making the employees dumber as expected, they’re making them smarter. And there were at least two other oddities: Why were the fish eaters spending more time in the bathroom? And why where they spending more time eating in their cubicles?

 

The fish eaters took much longer eating fish.

Ralph had seen one too many fish plates.

Rechecking his data, Mr. Grimm concludes, “The fish eaters spent more time in the bathroom because they washed their hands with lots of soap and hot water to remove the smell of fish. On the other hand, the donut eaters weren’t bothering to wash at all. They just licked the donut glaze off their fingers!” After waiting for the big bosses to quit making faces, he continues on. “Those from the donut unit were also vastly more efficient at eating donuts than the fish unit was eating fish. They’d wharf down their donuts in a flash while the fish eaters would pick at theirs for hours. Strangely, this got worse over time.”

 

Mr. Grimm pauses dramatically before suggesting, “Though it’s clear the donut group has become complete and total slobs, the fish unit should be fired for gross “ine-fish-iency.” Several in the room break into laughter, but the Chairman shakes his head. “We need another control group. I want you to compare the donut group to rats.” Mr. Grimm smiles and nods enthusiastically all the while thinking, “Oh, yeah, baby, more billable hours!”

 

Death by donut. It's not pretty.

The rats were thrilled to be part of the company productivity study.

Going back to work, Mr. Grimm scrounges around the company kitchen and finds a couple dozen rats in the pantry. He hires his brother, John Trapper, to capture them alive for the paltry sum of $10,000 and then runs them through their paces, feeding them nothing but donuts. Comparing the human donut group to his rats, here’s what he discovers:

 

 

Mr. Grimm's second report to the big bosses.

Some humans were surprised to find they had new rat co-workers, but a quickly implemented rat discrimination policy helped keep screaming to a minimum.

 

The bosses are stunned by the results of Mr. Grimm’s new study. They can see the rats spend an inordinate amount of time doing actual work compared to the humans. Yet there are questions: Mrs. Tracking-Cookie from Marketing wants to know why the rats only spent a single solitary minute surfing porn. Mr. Grimm shrugs apologetically. “We can’t say for certain any rat was surfing on purpose. It’s possible one rat was scrounging for crumbs and accidentally stumbled across a porn site when it ran across a keyboard.”

 

 

Mr. Numbers from Accounting pipes in with another question. “Why didn’t the rats spend any time in the bathroom?” Mr. Grimm can’t resist. “What? Annoyed by their lousy “rattitude?” There are several guffaws. “Seriously,” he continues, “they aren’t bashful. They don’t seem to care where they go.” The faces all around sober and wrinkle up, but Mr. Assembly from production nods as if deep in thought. “That’s potentially useful,” he notes. “If we made our workers hold it we could convert the bathrooms into more usable work space.”

 

“Not so fast,” growls the chairman. “I want an explanation of these other numbers.” Feeling the heat on, Mr. Grimm adjusts his collar. “The rats spent no time emailing, texting or on the phone. Apparently, they think it’s more efficient to communicate face to face.” “The horror!” exclaims Ms. Tort from Legal. “There’s no paper trail.”

 

Mr. Grimm goes on. “It also takes the rats longer to eat a donut, but when you compare human weight and height ratios with rat weight and height ratios and then prepare a formula to calculate the co-efficiency of the square root of the bilateral tangent…” The Chairman waves his hand to cut him off. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Mr. Grimm. Keep it simple.” Mr. Grimm swallows hard. “You’re quite right. I’m sorry. I was saying the donut is much bigger to a rat than a human so it takes longer to eat.” There are nods of appreciation all around as silence descends over the group.

 

Finally, the Chairman clears his throat. “Your recommendation, Mr. Grimm?” Mr. Grimm reaches under the table and grabs a large box. “First, there were leftover donuts so I brought some along.” A thunderous round of applause erupts around the room. “Here, here!” someone shouts.

 

As the group settles down, Mr. Grimm continues. “Second, it now seems clear donuts make people smarter so I suggest we replace the current equipment in the kitchen with new donut making machines. As it happens, my cousin, Ms. Satchy Fats, imports the most efficient models from France.”

 

There was no controlling the rats.

I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Mr. Suds from maintenance throws up a hand. “Yes?” asks Mr. Grimm. Mr. Suds puffs up his chest. “I don’t want to throw a monkey wrench into this, but don’t donuts have a pretty bad reputation from a dietary standpoint?” Mr. Grimm lifts an eyebrow. “An excellent point, sir. And so do the French for that matter. That’s why we’ll first send the equipment to China for a few modifications, and then when we “liberate it” back to the states we’ll call our donuts Freedom Puffs.”

 

“You’ve thought of everything,” Ms. Tracking-Cookie gushes. As most in the crowd nod and applaud their approval, Mr. Grimm notices the Chairman frowning. “Is there a problem, sir?” The Chairman glances around until he has everyone’s attention. “What of the rats?” he asks. “I haven’t heard your recommendation there?” Mr. Grimm is confused. “But they’re rats. Can’t we send them off to the farm, make rat soup for the employee’s reward dinner, or resell them for drug testing?” Smiling slyly the Chairman comes to his feet. “This is why you’re the consultant and I’m the big cheese. Here’s what we’ll do instead: We’ll fire all the human workers and replace them with rats. We’ll get more work done, increase profits and that means we can reward management by increasing our performance bonus 300%. The board will be thrilled. That’s all. Thanks for your work, Mr. Grimm.”

 

As Mr. Grimm departs he can’t help respecting the Chairman’s business acumen, but he knows that sooner or later he’ll be back. After all, rats are rats and pretty soon they’ll be fat and lazy, which means the company will once again require his help. Hmm. Maybe he should head up a new rat outsourcing firm in the interim. Just think of the potential!

 

And in case you’re still wondering: There are plenty of holes in this story.

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