the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Secure Your Damn Peanuts

Dear peanut-eaters,

Please don't kill my daughter.

My daughter, a darling little creature of just three years old, has a severe peanut allergy. Today, while flying home from visiting the grandparents, my wife and daughter found themselves in a row littered with peanut debris. Luckily, the flight attendants were able to reseat them quickly, but the incident alone was alarming and upsetting.

First, it's disappointing that the airline didn't do a better job of cleaning between flights. A few seconds of vacuuming during the turnaround at the gate would have done the trick; it certainly seemed like there was ample time since our boarding was delayed by over twenty minutes.

What really bothers me, though, is the thoughtlessness of those unburdened by food allergies, who assume that "it's not real" or "it's not that bad", who will never understand that something as simple as a little peanut can sicken or kill. Who don't feel the daily paranoia of living with a food allergy, of knowing that one failure to read a label or check with a restaurant before ordering can mean the sudden and permanent end of your child. Who can casually snack on what to our family has become a deadly weapon, and leave bits and pieces of this toxic material strewn about haphazardly.

Look, I know you didn't intend to cause any harm. You had no idea. And that's the problem.

Fortunately, my daughter has only reacted--so far--to ingestion, so the worst that will come of today's incident will be a thorough cleaning of our bags, clothes, and the plush lynx that we bought in the airport gift shop. But we know other kids who can't even be in a room with peanuts who wouldn't have been so lucky, who probably would have been headed to the ER--or worse. Peanut allergies have become so common and pronounced that there really shouldn't be any excuse for not knowing about the potential risks.

So, dear, peanut-eaters, hear this simple plea: don't bring your peanuts to the airport, and if you must, please, please make sure that you're conscientious about cleaning up after yourself. It may seem like a trivial little thing to do, but you might end up saving a life.

Thanks.

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