Letter to the Editor

Oh, those dangerous bagels

I enjoyed “There will be blood. Yours” [Health & Science, Jan. 8] on kitchen-related hazards, but I was surprised that the article didn’t mention one of the most dangerous items of all: the common bagel.

Some years ago, while happily reading a letter that announced the long-awaited news of a job offer, I was sawing through one of my daily bagels when I suddenly noticed the sesame seeds turning red. My thumb had become a soggy, bleeding mess that no amount of pressure, Band-Aids or holding my arm up in the air could stop, so I reluctantly set off for the emergency room.

The head resident turned out to be a man I had met on a bus the day before, who apparently had turned to medicine only after being rejected by an art school in Germany. Upon hearing my tale of woe, he sighed, declared “another ethnic catastrophe” and passed me on to an even younger-looking man who looked at me sadly and said, “This is going to hurt.” I am not sure which of us suffered more while I submitted bravely to the stitches. Several minutes later, my failed-artist bus companion came by, patted my nervous doctor on the back and told him that he was doing fine but if he didn’t work faster the wound would heal naturally before he was through.

Thirty years later, thoroughly healed, I look nostalgically at the inconspicuous scar on my  left thumb. I am not sure this warrants an FDA warning label, but apparently bagel-induced wounds are a frequent cause of  emergency room visits.  Just to let you know.

Shelley Temchin, Washington

 
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