Pass the papaya
on 2/21/2004 (4)
The papaya, a tropical fruit roughly the same size and shape as a professional leauge football, can harbor unforseen penalties.
|Please pass the papaya! |
Ever tried a papaya? Quite delicious, actually. They look and heft about the same as an NFL football, and for good reason. The papaya is one of the oldest fruits consumed by mankind and is rooted deep in the history of prehistoric Central America.
I can just imagine an Amazon hunter-gatherer coming across the huge, meaty papaya for the first time, greedily seizing it, and running like a tailback for a rock shelter to eat it in peace. His buddies would have cut and run, blocked, clothes-lined and stiff-armed him to get their fair share of the thing, giving new meaning to the word "clipping" once they got hold of him. Thus, the first prehistoric special teams tackle was born.
There turns out to be an unexpected side to the papaya. It seems the papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain. Papain is a powerfull enzyme that breaks down cellular structure. In small doses, papain aids digestion and is used in Asia to tenderize meat. Overdoses of green (unripe) papaya papain is toxic. Green papaya is hazardous to pregnant women, as it can induce abortion if improperly prepared, and is deliberatly used for that purpose in India.
Our prehistoric player probably found out the hard way to eat the ripened fruit only.
For every great discovery, there always seems to be a nasty, unforseen infraction hidden deep within.
Here might be a few others:
1. Atkins Diet. The public jumped on Atkins faster than a fat kid on free pizza. Why? The answer is obvious: You can supposedly eat as much of the stable of high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-sodium foods as you want, as long as you don't wrap them in a piece of bread or a bun. Bunless cheeseburgers and doughless pizza have burst on the fast food scene (Yes, doughless pizza! get your chopsticks out!). Of course there's a green papaya in there somwhere, and it's called heart disease. A diet high in cholesterol and fat has long been established to cause arteriosclerosis, and merely eliminating the bread from a Whopper ain't gonna change that simple nutrional fact.
5 yard penalty for false start.
2. Tanning booths. Who doesn't want a sexy, golden tropical Caribbean tan? Who can deny the dazzling appeal of bikini tan lines? Of course there's a greeny in there, and the fact is, any type of ultraviolet radiation that can cause the skin to produce excessive melanin (which is all that a tan is), probably damages the skin's cellular structure as well. It turns out that solar-assaulted skin tans in self defense. That's all that a tan is...a defense mechanism.
15 yard penalty for holding.
3. The internal combustion engine. In a nauseatingly perpetual effort to get from point A to point B, and then from point B back to point A again, mankind has invented a dizzing array of cunning contraptions to do so, faster and with greater comfort all the time. Of course, the Trojan Horse in almost all of these devices is the fact that they burn fossil petroleum fuel as a source of energy. The by-products of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels produce a heady array of toxins, including benzene, carbon monoxide, and heavy metal compounds, fouling mankinds habitat like a goose in a robin's nest. Hopefully, the same genius of invention that led us into this mess will lead us out, before the fat lady sings, anyway.
5 yard penalty for illegal procedure.
So, the moral is, for everything we discover, invent, re-invent, and re-invent once more, there's always a green papaya in there somewhere, of seemingly great benefit, but hiding dangerous un
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