Nicola Morgan

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NEVER underestimate the danger of flapjacks

I am entirely in agreement with the school in Essex which banned triangular flapjacks after a boy was hit in the face by one thrown by a classmate.

After all, it seems to me, following extensive brainstorming of all three sides to the story, that there were only two other options open to the school:

  1. Insist that all pupils wear protective clothing and equipment when in the dining-hall. This would be costly, difficult to implement and cause a great deal of mess when pupils tried to put food in their mouths.
  2. Insist that no pupils must throw any item of food with sharper corners than 45˚. This would be hard to enforce, necessitating the equipping of all staff with a protractor and insisting that they carry them while in the vicinity of the dining-hall. Also, once a flapjack has been thrown at force, it’s quite hard to measure the angles.

You may wonder if there is another option: to ban the throwing of any food at all. No, silly. That is clearly absurdly simple and, in any case, violates pupils’ human rights.

The more I think about this story, the more angry I get. I mean, for goodness’ sake, what was the school THINKING of in allowing triangular flapjacks in the first place? Not only is it patently dangerous, it is also a violation of the natural order of flapjacks. Flapjacks are perfect when rectangular. If something’s not broken, why fix it? And, let’s face it, a triangular flapjack is more likely to be broken than a rectangular one.

A word about the danger. This is well-documented. For a start, in 2011 Michael Gove was once quite rightly stopped by security from taking a flapjack (or possibly, two, for goodness’ sake – also, for all we know they might have been triangular, too) into a cabinet meeting, which clearly posed enormous national risk.

Also, more importantly (to me), I was once questioned at length by security about my flapjack while having my artificial brain strip-searched painstakingly at Belfast airport. I remember this well. I remember being asked most accusingly, “What were you planning to do with this?” I remember innocently answering, “I was planning to eat it, actually.”

Thank goodness I had the presence of mind not to say I was planning deviously to cut it into two triangles and throw it at TWO people the moment I got on the plane. Imagine! A rectangular flapjack, no problem. Two triangular ones, DEADLY! Though equally nourishing and tasty.

Of course, that goes to the heart of why I am so wholly in favour of the brave decision by the school to ban triangular flapjacks: because, pedagogically, it is far better that pupils are allowed to discover for themselves that simple geometric truth, that a rectangle bisected diagonally from corner to corner becomes two equal triangles. Schools should not do everything for pupils; education is a journey and the most satisfying journeys are the hardest, as Nietzsche meant when he said that thing about mountains.

And every satisfying journey should have at least four right-angle turns.



8 Responses

  1. Is it true British Army ATOs are to be equipped with Flapjackets when dealing with ITFs?*

    * ITF = Improvised Triangular Flapjacks

    1. Philip, I believe that’s still classified information, isn’t it? You’ve taken an enormous risk in leaking it, so I recommend you don’t remove the flapjacket for a while.

  2. Thanks for the warning, Nicola. I’m glad to hear that schools are still making wise decisions. I’ll always remember my headmistress who decided that in order to prevent people bumping into each other on the stairs, everyone was to go up on the left and down on the right.

  3. Thank goodness our school tuck shop sold nothing lethally triangular but specialised in Wagon Wheels. Not only could Mr Moseley teach splendid geometry lesson on the chocolatey delights of pi r squared, afterwards, it was huge fun to roll them down the long science corridor and fell any passing prefect or teacher (Latin, especially.) Oh how we all lchortled at the jolly japes.

    Kids today? Don’t know they’re born.

  4. All praise to the flapjack. Since I read my hubby your post on flapjacks being brain fuel, he’s now found his baking niche. They have to have 4 sides. I agreed. Our teen can take or leave them, but I think they are moreish, aren’t they?

  5. What worries me is that while triangular flapjacks have three corners with which to wound or maim, rectangular flapjacks have four, so must therefore be 33% more dangerous. I vote for perfectly round flapjacks. In fact, in my day we only ever threw sprouts.

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