Found at: Sainsbury’s
In this time of pandemic, there’s a lot of conflicting advice about how to keep yourself safe. Should I buy a mask? Should I make hand sanitizer out of Tito’s vodka? Should I replace handshakes with the trendier and more sanitary fist bumps? There’s so much information out there from so many sources that I quickly find myself overwhelmed. Which is why it can be encouraging to hear advice that is clearly wrong – it is a certainty that I can cling to in this difficult time.
For example, while picking between two identical avocados at the Sainsbury’s yesterday, I overheard two young men in conversation, and a phrase stuck out:
“…and grab some mints so we don’t get Corona.”
I initially dismissed it as ‘The British Wit,’ but staring at the underripe stone fruit I began to wonder if this was really the case. There was an honest, matter-of-fact urgency in their voices that made me uneasy as they discussed the role of the breath mints in fighting disease:
“The mint breaks down the bacteria in our mouth – that’s how they make your breath fresh.”
“Oh, that’s why they put mint in toothpaste!”
What a relief to know that America is not the only country whose educational system fails to reach everyone.
But even as I’m feigning righteousness, the truth is that I also bought some mints before I left. I really like the retro box and the lemon flavor of these Peppersmith mints and the conversation had reminded me that I had packed a very garlicky lunch. But I still felt guilty buying them from the counter – afraid that the cashier might think I’d been swayed by the conversation we had just overheard – but on reflection, I should not have been so worried. After all, if Covid-19 is what finally gets teenage boys to use breath mints, then maybe this is misinformation worth spreading.