Friday, January 31, 2014

Simply Heartwarming

Everyone loves a good story about a kid.  When we lived in Iowa, my younger daughter was in the paper constantly, owing to the slow news occurrences in the rural midwest, and to the fact that she was always up to something.  She was the lead in the school play, the youngest seller at the local farmers' market, a darn good entrepreneur by the time she was 8, and she took a pretty cute picture.  Everyone loves a good story about a kid.

That explains this story about a young Illinois entrepreneur with a talent for cupcake making.  Cute kid, good product, happy customers.  Easy to explain.

So what explains this?  Apparently, the Madison County, Illinois, health department has stepped in and shut down the 11-year old cupcaker because she doesn't have a permit or a "licensed kitchen."  Yup.  Even though just about every last one of us eats food every day from our own "unlicensed kitchen," and the incredibly vast majority of us don't die, or even get sick from it.   Even though many many states have "cottage food" laws that regularly allow the sales of such foods as baked goods and jams and the like, without licensing of the kitchen or health permits--and the world is still standing after that kind of anarcho-crazy liberality.  Even though there are virtually NO known cases of people getting sick from it.

You know what I think explains it?  Fear.  Every time we turn around, we read about some horror story of something that supposedly caused someone to get sick or die.  Spinach with e coli.  Peanut butter.  Bad meat.  Raw milk.  Mosquitoes.  Oh-freaking-no!  Right on cue, spurred on by ridiculously overblown media coverage that always makes it sound like the whole world has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel (even if it's eleven people who got a belly ache), people begin to clamor--"something MUST be done!" or "there ought to be a law!"

And, right on cue, spurred on by people scared of boogeymen and peanut butter, someone makes that law and someone shuts down a cute kid doing something useful, that people used to do all the time, without anyone dying.  So keep that in mind next time you're tempted to have some "authority" make you safe from cupcakes or something else that you could easily just decide not to buy if you're concerned about it.  So my thought for today: Live dangerously--eat a damn cupcake.

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