Remember when no one had a peanut allergy?
I and everyone I knew ate peanuts in every form. Peanut butter. Peanut…well, I guess it was just peanut butter. The whole Asian cuisine juggernaut had not yet risen, and beer (with bowl of peanuts annexed thereto) was also years away. But peanut butter was a staple. I ate peanut butter plain, and I ate it as an ingredient in many, many foods, although I did not know or care about things like ingredients.
No one I knew was allergic to peanuts. I knew plenty of people who were allergic to cats, but none who were allergic to peanuts. And then one day I turned around and there were more people allergic to peanuts than cats. And not just a little allergic – more than just a few sniffles and headaches. No, these peanut allergies were lethal. I had to start walking around with the knowledge that the free bag of peanuts they gave me on the airplane was a mortal weapon. Although soon they stopped giving out those peanuts, too.
Where did this mortal allergy come from? Why so suddenly? Did it come from another planet? Was it genetically engineered by a pretzel company? We’ll never know the answer.
All I know is that I have to be careful where I open jars of peanut butter. The 21st Century is a dangerous place.