Musings of a Matriarch: Don’t feel guilty — rats prefer donuts, too

Sharon Kennedy

A long time ago I remember watching a documentary that compared the eating habits of rats to humans. Rats were given a breakfast choice between apples and donuts. In every case, the rats chose the donuts. That may sound disgusting if you’re enjoying your breakfast, but I’m willing to bet most of us do the same thing. I’ll be the first to admit I’ll take a nice glazed donut over a Honey Crisp apple any day of the week.

Does that mean my intelligence is on a par with a rat? I suppose a few relatives and maybe some acquaintances would agree I have no more common sense than a rodent. Maybe they’re right. However, I have a feeling those who disparage me are dunking their donuts into hot coffee at this very minute.

Why? Because humans love sweets. My hypothesis isn’t based on a longitudinal study but on the acres of sugary treats available in every store in America. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gas station or a major grocery chain. Most folks would rather grab a brownie or cinnamon roll instead of the banana or orange right next to them. Consider church bakesales. Have you ever seen a peach, apple, or blueberry on the table? Of course not unless they were enclosed in a flaky pie crust or topped with a brown sugar crumble.

Scripture tells us Eve gave Adam an apple. What it doesn’t tell us is that Eve dunked it in a vat of warm caramel before she handed it to him. Why else would Adam deliberately disobey specific orders from God? Now don’t get excited if you think I’m being blasphemous. Sometimes a sense of humor is required to understand why bad things happen to good people.

Folks who diet know how hard it is to resist temptation. Sugar is everywhere and in every form. It lurks in those innocent looking Little Debbie’s. It’s hidden between the layers of a carrot cake. It masquerades as our friend when we twirl our tongue around a frozen yogurt cone. It’s only when we step on the scales we realize we’ve been duped.

But here’s the good news. It’s not our fault. If Adam had been more of a man, he wouldn’t have caved in when offered the apple. Biblical time was different from Eastern Standard Time. Peopled lived a lot longer. I’m sure the couple in the Garden of Eden didn’t have a calendar so maybe it took Eve a week to convince her partner to bite the apple. Maybe it took a year. Maybe a century. Maybe Adam was tired of her nagging and ate the Macintosh just to shut her up.

But according to the documentary I watched years ago, rats don’t have any more sense than we do when it comes to a sweet treat. Adam could have told us that, but would we have paid any attention to him? Probably not. Our DNA is programmed to choose sweets over stuff that’s considered “good” for us, but here’s the rub. Unless those beautiful strawberries you’re putting on your cereal are organic, there’s more pesticides in them than in the caramel on the apple.

And the apple is toxic unless it’s from your yard and you never sprayed it with the equivalent of DDT, but who cares when it’s covered in thick, rich, gooey liquid sugar? Nobody, that’s who, otherwise the owners of Kraft Foods would have gone under years ago. One time I wrote a musing about the perils of consuming supermarket food so I won’t bore you with anything remotely connected to herbicides, pesticides, or GMOs. I’d rather write about Adam and how difficult it must have been for him to disobey God.

Imagine all that bounty and beauty in Eden and he spoiled it by taking one lousy bite from an apple instead of a pear. He must have hung his head in shame. I think he and Eve tried to hide from God, but we all know that’s impossible. Nobody can hide from an omniscient deity. Those two should have known better. They might have been in the garden for centuries. Scripture is a little slim on exact dates, but we know they had it made. They didn’t have to work for a living or worry about not having enough money to pay the rent or electric bill.

Can you imagine how lovely life would be without worries or sickness? Life would be utopia. Imagine a world without war, disease, natural disasters, and homicides. How would we spend our time? Would we just lie around and eat grapes all day? Probably not because they’d still have seeds in them. Same goes for watermelons, so I guess we can forget about those two fruits. Everyone would eat grains and grasses, and I guess we’d all be vegetarians. Just think how happy that would make the animals.

Well, I don’t know. I suppose this musing is getting a little silly, but you might as well continue reading because I’m almost finished and what else do you have to do? If you’ve stuck with me this far, you can hang on a little longer.

You’re retired. If you’re like me your weekly outings consist of going to the doctor’s office and the grocery store. Yes, you might attend church, but then again you might not. You might just stay home and eat an apple.

Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past. She can be reached via email at In addition, Sharon has compiled a collection of stories from her various newspaper columns. The title of her book is “Life in a Tin Can.” Copies are available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.