Science Corner – February 12, 2021

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Satire, kiddies, satire!

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Why do onions make me cry?

Let us first assume you mean “why do onions make me cry when I peel or slice them?”  Onions are not openly aggressive, rude, vulgar, or generally psychologically abusive.  Right?  An onion would not make you cry simply by being an onion or by colluding with five pounds of potatoes in the vegetable pantry to go renegade on you.

What we have here is a gender-specificity issue.  Certainly, you’ve noticed sometimes you’ve peeled and diced or sliced an onion without lugubrious side-effects. That would be because you have selected, exercising your sous-chef responsibilities, a male onion.  Only female onions make you weep.0  If you are a human male, shamed into helping in the kitchen and mistakenly selected a female onion you are not immune.  Male onion effects are decidedly different from those brought about by female onions. Time permitting, we’ll get into that. Don’t hold your breath.

At play here, is Trivegoxynase,1 a female vegetable hormone.  Taken into the human body, usually through the nose and eyes, it immediately sets-off a parasympathetic reaction.  This follows hard on the heels of sympathetic reactions felt by the onion.  An onion feels pain, first losing it’s crown, then its flamboyantly tinted paper skin, then its outer subdermal layers, then being sliced and/or diced, and finally to have its rootplane severed.  Tragic.  Certainly, for the onion. 

The preceding sympathetic reaction (in the onion) is accompanied by release of Dicarbovegulese,2 another hormone, but common in both male and female onions.  Humans are unaffected by Dicarbovegulese researchers suspect because it is released in much smaller quantities and is introduced into the human body only in finding its way directly into the bloodstream. Proof here is that if you slice a finger or elbow3 prepping onions, you immediately experience an increased heartrate, release of adrenaline, and depending on the severity of your injury, may wet yourself.  Sympathetic reactions.  Science is wonderful.

The only known way to counteract the effect of Trivegoxynase is to run wildly around the prep area while insulting the onion with sharp, pointy objects.  This serves to increase one’s heart rate, simulating the onion’s sympathetic reactions, countering parasympathetic reactions.  Be aware this action is inconvenient and hazardous.  Recognize this and carefully select male onions4 or get someone undereducated to do the job.

Unfortunately, or for carelessness working with a female onion, Trivegoxynase causes humans to empathize with that onion.  Effects are only physical.  Were it otherwise, humans would understand they were “feeling the onion’s pain” and we would have no need for this discourse.  Sufficient doses of, or prolonged exposure to, Trivegoxynase makes humans recognize only that they are crying.  Effects are most profound on human females because males are, overall, unfeeling, uncaring, insensitive boobs.

Bonus. It appears we have time to briefly consider the male equivalent of Trivegoxynase, Monotestaphosphate.2  Ladies can forgo this discussion as this male onion5 hormone has absolutely no effect on the human female.  Monotestaphosphate tends to not be as potent as Trivegoxynase.  Additionally, it almost always requires assistance getting into the human body.  Males of the human species oblige.  Less concerned about cleanliness, males feel no compunction with regard to rubbing their eyes while peeling onions.  The hormone thus gaining entry to the male system evidences itself not in feelings of sympathy or empathy but of belligerence in the manner of “Hurt? Me? Nah! No way! I’m tougher than that!”  Males experience uncontrollable urges to immediately imbibe molded hops and grains, consume prodigious amounts of animal protein, and engage in root-locking6 of one form or another.

This relatively brief explanation should allow you to understand that crying while peeling an onion is not a sign of weakness, but rather an indication of hurried or negligent produce selection.

— Notes –

0  Please, don’t start. It was necessary for the premise to work, one gender or the other be picked. Somehow, it seemed to have less snap suggesting ‘androgynous’ or ‘fluid’ as a label.  Females are reported worldwide to be more “feeling” and sympathetic, males as insensitive and emotionally clumsy. If it works better for you to flip-flop, live large.

1 Sure.  And Santy Claus is a steelworker in Indianapolis (except Thanksgiving through the first day of Christmas) with mystical powers enabling him to know by name and desire, every good little boy and girl.  Which suggests this goof by process of elimination knows all the bad little boys and girls.  To what benefit?  Bad little boys?  Marine Corps recruiting?  Wait!  There might be an advantage to knowing all the bad little girls, depending on exactly what their desires might be and how close to no longer being little they are.  Anyway, you believe what you want.

2 Come on! Read “note” 1 above, and pretend you are a rocket scientist. 

3 Really?  You slice your elbow prepping onions?  You need kitchen lessons in a really bad way.

4 Determining male from female is exceptionally difficult, akin to the difficulty of “sexing” newly hatched chicks.  It requires a keen eye, even keener sense of smell, a feel for symmetry, and patience. First, select a specimen not uniformly round. Male onions tend to be misshapen in one way or another.  Notice in the onion basket the specimens with unkempt outer skins.  Male onions are less apt to be concerned for “does this skin make my tunic seem large?”  Carefully smell the onion’s crown.  Female onions to the discerning nose will gently present a floral aroma – think Julie Eversole from Sophomore Advanced Math class.  Male onions on the other hand, will seem randy, somewhat sweaty, at best overpoweringly “onion” – reminiscent of gym socks. Turn the onion over, exposing the rootstock below the rootplane.  Male onions will be dirtier, the rootstock thicker, irregular, and completely lack uniformity.  There is one final test, but I’m not prepared to risk taking this session to “NSFW” labelling for explaining onion genitalia.

5 Similar vegetable hormones and effects are known for scallions, leeks, garlic, chives, and shallots, as they are for sweet, Vidalia, white, and yellow onion onions.  Real garlic – hardneck, softneck, Creole, black, ramps, and even sissy garlic or ‘elephant’ garlic – has the most pronounced effects, leeks the least.

6 Not completely understood by science.  Compared by researchers to locking horns in deep rut season.  Human males lacking horns, this evidences in such as the NFL, MMA, and pre-soccer Hakas.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

8 thoughts on “Science Corner – February 12, 2021

  1. Refreshingly creative! But, the alliums are serious business around here and inquiring minds want to know—why don’t the onions make us cry anymore? The last time an good strong onion made me cry was so long ago I forgot that used to be a thing until your post. And ‘root locking’? I’ve consulted my better half and we are doubting that’s really a thing among human males in any form, except in the military and Hollywood. Do enlighten us, please as to such forms this takes?

    1. Explain satire? Okay. The response is lengthy (and boring). It will close the post tentatively scheduled for 2/13. As to root locking, that is addressed in note 6, above. Time permitting that will be expanded 2/13.

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