Coronacondom Credit: Mike Sula

It’s spring! Foraging season! There’s stuff on the sidewalks. To eat, or not to eat? That is the question.

  • Discarded face masks are the new Walgreen’s disposable plastic shopping bag. Would you kiss your mother with that mask? Don’t eat them.

  • Used latex gloves are the new discarded prophylactic. Five-fingered Coronacondoms are ubiquitous; twisted, wrinkled in the grass, and possibly wet. I’m not getting close enough to confirm. You’re glovin’ it, Chicago! But do not eat them.

  • Did you know that if you spat on the sidewalk during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic you could be pilloried in the public square and sneezed on by the mob?* Not in 2020. The pavement is still densely populated by bubbly chest oysters, left behind by the phlegmatic unmasked, marking their turf like dogs. Dodge them like Frogger and don’t eat them.

  • Speaking of dogs, if you walk one with any regularity, you know that your fellow human incubators are still tossing impressive amounts of half-eaten tortillas, doughnuts, and bread onto the common way. Chicago’s sourdough starter must really suck. Don’t eat it, and don’t let the dog eat it.

  • Dogs are still pooping on the public way, of course—and rudely failing to clean up after themselves. Don’t eat it. Don’t eat it, that is, unless you’re a mask tosser, a glove dropper, a lung cookie spitter, or a delinquent freegan feeder. If you fall into any of those categories, it’s delicious. By all means go right ahead and eat it.

*not historically accurate.  v

Originally published in the Reader‘s Food & Drink newsletter. Subscribe here.