What animal commits the highest number of aggressive acts against a predator?
Give up? It's the cow.
A cow switches its tail to fight off the biting flies that are constantly dive-bombing it with their blood lust. People who study this sort of thing estimate that the "aggressive acts" number in the thousands of times per day.
So the cow is one of the most dangerous animals. At least to flies. And also to humans.
That's because cows kill roughly 20 people per year, which according to some reports, is FIVE TIMES more than the number of people killed by a shark. And that doesn't include heart attacks from eating cheeseburgers.
In Great Britain, 98 people were killed by cows between 2000 and 2020 — that's nearly five people per year.
That's unusually high, given how docile and friendly cows are. I can't really imagine them as ferocious, growling monsters who thirst for the taste of human blood.
Wait, I'm thinking of bunny rabbits.
I was reminded of this unusual cow fact after talking with my friend and humor mentor Dick Wolfsie, who told me that the most dangerous food in America is bagels.
"What, like a lot of people choke on them?"
"Ooh, they get hit in the eye during a bagel fight!"
"Ooh! Ooh! And there are huge gangland fights between the Toasted Sesame Marginals and the Everything Bowery Boys, sort of like in Gangs Of New York?"
"No! Not everything has to be a bagel pun!"
"Jeez, no need to get cream-cheesed off."
That's when he left.
A New Yorker article from the 1990s quoted one ER doctor who said he had dealt with hand lacerations, cuts, gouges, and even severed fingers. Clearly, bagel-related injuries — a problem so prevalent there are 1.8 million entries on Google for the term — are a major health risk.
So how can you keep yourself safe when enjoying this breakfast staple?
The easiest way is to tear off large bites with your teeth, chew on them a few times, and wash the entire dough wad down with coffee or water.
This isn't the safest way to eat them by any stretch, but at least you aren't in danger of cutting yourself with a knife. If you don't chew the bites enough, soon you won't be in danger from anything.
But if you want to eat your bagels with a little class and style and no actual threat to yourself, you need a safer method of bagel slicing.
Several bagel professionals suggest using a bagel guillotine — Bagelotine? Baguillotine? — for safer slicing. Place the bagel inside the plastic sleeve and drive the sharp knife down through the bagel, slicing it in half.
It's like Marie Antoinette is being marched to the guillotine, and she says, "Let them eat cake donuts." Then you chop the bagel, and the vegetables take up arms against the ruling class.
But don't be fooled by the alleged ingenuity of the bagel guillotine. It's a single-use device that only clutters up the kitchen. Sure, it seems like a great idea, but now you have to wash it and find a place to store it in your already-cramped kitchen.
Do you know what else cuts your bagel right in half?
It's very simple. Place the bagel flat on a cutting board, hold it down with the palm of one hand, and then slice through it horizontally with a serrated knife.
The bagel, not your hand.
Don't hold the bagel in your hand, don't stand it on end on a cutting board, and don't use a flat/smooth knife. And certainly, never try to slice into a frozen bagel.
Baguillotines are about as dumb as the crust-cutter-offer devices sold to parents of young children who don't like crusts on their sandwiches. You set it on your child's PB&J, press down, and voila! No more crusts.
Nothing says, "I will hover over my child until I die," like buying a crust-cutter-offer. Just make your kids a regular sandwich and make them eat the crusts. It'll help them get a scholarship to a good college.
Nearly 2,000 people go to the emergency room for bagel-related injuries. It's gotten so bad that one bagel manufacturer pre-slices their frozen bagels so they don't get sued. But this wouldn't happen if people knew better than to cut straight into something they're holding in their hand. Presumably, the same people who would saw a tree branch they were sitting on.
All this talk of bagels has me jonesing for an everything bagel. Let me get my toaster out of the dishwasher, and I'll make breakfast.
My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available in hardback, paperback, and ebook. You can buy it here.