Triangular Treats Banned Due to Risk of Sharp Corners

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See, here’s yet another reason that it was so dumb to punish a kid for biting a pastry into the shape of a handgun: he could have just poked someone in the eye with the pastry in the first place. A ban would only infringe on the right of law-abiding citizens to bite their pastries into the shape of a handgun, while doing nothing to make children safer from pastry handguns.

Well, you probably didn’t think that stupid could get any stupider than that, but, my friends, you have underestimated stupid.

A spokesperson for Castle View School in Canvey Island, Essex, confirmed yesterday that the school had banned triangle-shaped flapjacks after one was thrown at a pupil, hitting him in the face. It was not the flapjack itself that was considered excessively dangerous, but rather the shape, which as some of you may know, necessarily involves three potentially sharp corners that might damage an eye. According to reports, staff were told that triangular treats are now banned for safety reasons, and that they should henceforth cut flapjacks into rectangles or squares instead.

Which, as some of you may know, necessarily involve four potentially sharp corners.


(Photo: Alistair Young)

To be fair, the word “flapjack” in British English apparently does not mean “pancake,” as it does over here. The latter are soft and fluffy cakes made from batter, and are almost exclusively round and therefore corner-free. For both reasons, they do not pose the same risks as the English flapjack (right, in square form), which is a baked oat treat that we in the U.S. would call a “granola bar.” Even if a determined terrorist rolled the pancake into the shape of a rod, he could poke away with his pancake rod all he wanted and it’s still not going to put out an eye or get him through a cockpit door. But the deadly flapjack is another story.

At least in triangular form. Depending on the type of triangle involved (and technically, I think we are really talking about prisms here), a square flapjack might pose slightly less risk, because its 90-degree corners might not allow the weapon to penetrate as far into the eye socket as would the acute angles of the deadly isoceles. Of course, as one “school insider” was quoted as saying, an astute child (or terrorist) with even a basic understanding of geometry could break a square flapjack into any number of dangerous triangles, limited only by the level of desperation and/or granola cohesion. Thus we see the law of unintended consequences coming into play yet again: a purported safety regulation puts the public at even greater risk.

According to one report, in 2011 British MP and Education Secretary Michael Gove was prevented from taking flapjacks into a cabinet meeting, after officials cited similar safety concerns. That is the only report of that alleged incident, however—although Gove was (and is) the Education Secretary, there does not appear to be any other evidence that he was ever frisked for flapjacks or that even the British government has actually classified them as a security risk.

I mention that mainly so the TSA won’t get all worked up about granola bars or, even more stupidly, American flapjacks. In whatever shape.