Friday, March 6, 2009

Sharing Bread

Man evolved as a pack animal, living together in tight groups, knowing that his strength is greater when those around him are strong. Capuchin monkeys are inclined to share food with almost any individual who helped them obtain the food. Gorillas share food in return for grooming. Wolves share food at carcass locations based on a complex variety of ecological and social factors. Even ants share food, but probably based on quite different urges and motives than those that make chimpanzees or people share food.

It was with this in mind that, as soon as I learned the basics of feeding myself, I have tried to share whatever I am eating with whoever in my extended pack happens to be around me - most of the time they accept, even if just to thank me for my offer. In return, I have learned much about the fine art of sharing and the cultural norms associated with offering food. In order to help those who come behind me, I offer the following list of acceptable vs. not acceptable sharing.

AcceptableNot Acceptable
Giving someone something off of my own plateGiving someone something off of someone else's plate
Offering someone the first biteOffering someone my pre-chewed first bite
Trying to help someone drink from my cupTrying to help someone drink all of their own cup at one time
Dropping an occasional piece to the dogAttempting to retrieve that piece from the dog

I hope that my short list helps those of you still trying to understand the proper sharing Do's and Don'ts. Good luck and happy sharing.

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