#3. Picky Eating
Imagine you go to school at Stereotype High. On one side of the cafeteria are the jocks and on the other side are the goobers, dweebs, spazzess and dorks. In the middle are the cops eating donuts, flamboyant gays gossiping and Flava Flav, but they're not necessary for this thought experiment, so we'll just ignore them.
Flava Flav is prepared for being ignored in theoretical situations, and always dresses appropriately.
Now picture what's on the trays in front of the jocks. Did you see entire fried chickens, burgers, whole pizzas and Flintstones ribs? Imagine what's on the trays in front of the nerds. Did you see salads, gluten free rice cakes and hypoallergenic cardboard? You should have, because somewhere along the line, we as a people decided picky eating was for wusses.
Even when we're not talking about physical food allergies, there's something pretty lame about a guy who can't stomach the food on his plate.
Its Badass Origins
Today's pickiest eaters had the bad luck of inheriting a gene that kept the species alive thousands of years ago. There's even an official name for them: Supertasters.
Can't eat certain birds, can't eat on planes ...
And while that name might sound like even science is mocking them, it turns out they actually have extra taste buds and are therefore extra-sensitive to something called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). For supertasters, PTC is to food as beer is to angry drunk stepfathers; it makes everything bitter.
"Every stem represents a way you've RUINED MY LIFE."
But back before we had the FDA and award-winning documentaries telling us what was what in our food, they were our first and only line of defense. Because toxins are bitter, supertasters could pick out the poisonous stuff and scoot us on our way before we gorged ourselves on deathberries. With literally no other mechanism for detecting poison, our picky-eating friends would have been like superheroes to their communities.
Communities that separated everything on their plate and were terrible in sushi restaurants.
They were so useful that while all the guys who hear sounds 20 times louder than everyone all died off years ago, the supertaster gene was useful enough to hang around in the mouths of certain unfortunate members of the species. Spinach and Brussels sprouts just taste bad to most of us, supertasters are experiencing every note of the horrible sensation that just crapped in your mouth in hi-def with Dolby digital surround sound.
"It's got a hint of nutmeg with a used condom finish."
So while eating with a supertaster can be as fun as eating with a colicky baby while nursing a raging canker sore in one cheek and mouth cancer in the other ... at the Golden Corral ... on Mexican night ... we should let them complain, and stop calling them that clearly sarcastic name.
Speaking of allergies: If you're one of the millions of unlucky people around the world who suffers from them, you don't need Cracked to tell you how much they suck. How pathetic it is that mere flower sperm throws your body into conniption fits? Not only do allergies render otherwise healthy people into walking dipwads ...
... they also confine you to a life indoors. And what could be wussier than that?
Their Badass Origins
People tend to think of allergies as a weakness, but the big irony is that they're the exact opposite. Allergies are actually caused by an extra active immune system, or the immunosuppressant equivalent of Steven Seagal in the early 90s: kicking so much ass that a few innocent bystanders are going to catch an arm snap once in a while.
He always sends flowers to the hospital bed, which just makes things so much worse.
Normally, dangerous foreign substances that get inside our body are recognized by antibodies, which then bind to white blood cells to tell the immune response it's "go time." Think of white blood cells and antibodies as the Batman and Robin of disease fighting. Coughing, sneezing, fevers -- these are just the tactics our dynamic duo initiates to take out the trash. One of their favorite crime-fighting techniques is to drown the bad guys with phlegm, and then literally explode them out of your body via sneeze.
Holy snot-bomb, Batman! Honestly though, that's disgusting.
Sometimes, though, the dynamic duo decide to also go for the occasional litterbug or the overly nosy neighbor down the street. Or, in the case of the bodies of allergic people, dust and pollen. And the body attacks them with the same ferocity it would attack a cold. If successfully fighting off disease were scoring a touchdown, then an allergy is like Forrest Gump barreling through the end zone, mowing down the marching band and sprinting halfway across town while still clutching the football.
STOP, IMMUNE SYSTEM! STOP!
Recently, the discovery of an ancient antibody has shed some light on why our immune system is prone to overreaction. According to this study, way back when humans were little more than nomadic tribes of lice-picking, loincloth-sporting fruit and nut herders, there was a particularly nasty pathogen floating around. In order to survive, primitive humans started producing an antibody that would latch on more tightly to white blood cells, thereby initiating an unusually ferocious immune response.
This worked out great for those primitive humans who were actually infected, and we survived to this day. Unfortunately, the antibody stuck around inside us long after the deadly pathogen was eradicated. Nobody told this obsolete bastard his job is done, so he spends his time waging imaginary battles, reliving the glory days by pretending like he's saving lives.
The similarities really are startling.
Despite the best efforts of The Iron Giant, Navy Seal heroics and chopped onions the world over, grown men are still expected to keep the waterworks to a bare minimum. Unless there's a dead body or a pennant in the room, your eyes are supposed to remain dry.
Let it all out and maybe it'll make up for listening to the Super Bowl during the wake.
Its Badass Origins
Tears aren't just eye-lube and Oscar magnets. Scientists think they actually started out as a signaling system. More specifically, a sneaky, sophisticated signaling system that provided the crier a strategic advantage in no-holds-barred Neanderthal warfare.
Because there's only so much secrecy, "I WANT MY MOOOOMMMM," can provide.
Imagine you're an early man and you're compromised in some way. Maybe you've impaled yourself on a mammoth tusk or got a really bad foot cramp. You need help, but you want to keep your impairment on the down low, so your enemies don't pounce. You need a signal that tells your allies that something is wrong that doesn't involve shrieking like a little bitch, which is Neanderthal for "finish me." You could stay silent and bear it like a man, at which point no one will hear you and you're still impaled on the tusk of the mammoth that guy was riding when you killed him. But tears -- dramatic, glistening tears quietly streaming down your ashen, pain-wrought visage -- will tell the people close enough to see the shininess of your cheeks that something is wrong and you need a hand.
In other words, early man's ability to survive actually depended on his ability to cry like a baby.
"I am the warrior king. You will bow before me."
Oh, and we should also mention the guy who could summon up some eye water would also be the guy more likely to get laid later. Even today, scientists point out that tears are a strategic weapon in getting empathy from the opposite sex. But back when the first humans were becoming what we are today, emotional tears were an evolutionary breakthrough. No other animal cries in sadness, after all, and crying would have been one of the first behaviors that separated us from the beasts.
That and our ability to beatbox.
Learn more about bullies in, 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and 6 Reasons Assholes Are Healthier (According to Science).
And stop by Linkstorm to discover why the average man only last 27 seconds in bed.
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