Sunday, February 20, 2011

Righteous Indignation

There is nothing righteous about it. It is just lacking in dignity.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Proposed New Mental Category: Foil Barrier Retention Disorder

I am told the American Psychiatric Association is engaged in an effort to revise its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the great catalog of mental illnesses, and that the work is not going well.  As a result, this may not be the best moment to suggest a new entry, but I will proceed undeterred.

Many food products come with a foil seal that must be pierced or peeled back to get at the substance inside. These include but are not limited to, sour cream and yogurt containers, boxes of cocoa powder, and tins of loose tea. Some individuals, for reasons that are not yet fully understood by psychiatric science, prefer not to completely remove the foil from the container. As a result, when you reach for the Earl Grey and pop the top off the tin, you are greeted—not with a clear shot at your goal—but rather with a lapping tongue of foil obstructing your view of tea and bergamot.

In its most extreme form, Foil Barrier Retention Disorder (FBRD) is characterized by very small openings of foil, barely large enough to get a teaspoon through. In these cases, the majority of the foil barrier remains attached to the container, appearing almost as it did the day the item was brought home from the store. Individuals with this extreme form of FBRD are prone to two additional symptoms. First, they complain about any efforts by those unafflicted with FBRD to remove part or all of the foil that remains attached to the container. Second, those suffering from extreme FBRD express the irrational and unscientific theory that the partially attached foil is somehow capable of promoting the freshness of the food product within.

In less severe forms of the disorder, little mention is made if the foil if it is detached or falls off of its own accord. If irrational theories of preservation and freshness are held, they typically go unexpressed.

At this time, the presumed genetic origins of FBRD remain unknown, but a vigorous research effort aimed at identifying an effective pharmacological treatment is underway.