Opinion: I ‘bag-el’ your pardon


If you show up at an emergency room with a fishhook in your nose or your fingers super-glued together, there is a good chance you’ll be sitting in the waiting room next to a guy with a bagel injury.

More than 40,000 Americans ended up in an ER last year with a BRI — a Bagel Related Injury. That’s about 10 dozen people a day (in bagel talk), which means 325 million people in the U.S. have avoided these doughy morning mishaps. What are they eating for breakfast? Pop Tarts?

A BRI occurs when cutting the bagel in half before popping it in the toaster. The result can be hand lacerations, gouges or severed digits … all of which, especially the last one, can ruin a lovely Sunday brunch.

I was once a victim of my own bagel boo-boo. My big mistake was using a dull knife to cut a frozen bagel held in the palm of my hand. OK, I guess that’s three mistakes.

Hospitals may have to assign specially trained triage nurses to handle these bleeders arriving at the ER.

“What seems to be the problem, sir?”

“I cut myself while slicing a bagel.”

“Were you cutting it horizontally or vertically?” the nurse might ask.

“I was vertical, of course. It’s not safe to slice a bagel while lying on the couch.”

“You are bleeding pretty badly. I also detect a white ooze in the cut.”

“That’s cream cheese. Can we move on with this? It really hurts.”

“Sir, I need to record all the data. It’s part of the new government program, O’Bagel Care. What kind of bagel was it?”

“It was an Everything Bagel.”

“Oh, I just love those. I can even see the little poppy seeds and specks of onion on your bloody napkin. That explains the burning sensation in your gaping wound. By the way, can you recommend a place to get a good Everything Bagel?”

“Yes, there’s a cute neighborhood shop on 86th Street … wait a second, what are we doing here? I hate to be blunt about this, but can we get me in to see a doctor quickly? And can you confirm my accident is covered by my insurance?”

“You would need to have a bagel medical plan like Blue-Cross, Blue-Berry, with a Sesame Seed supplement. Just kidding. Dr. Cohen, the physician on duty, made up those jokes. It’s just a barrel of laughs working here in the ER.”

A sympathetic nurse may offer some advice while you wait.

“You might want to invest in a contraption specifically designed to cut bagels, so we don’t see you here again. They’re sometimes called Bagel Guillotines. They protect your hands from sharp edges. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?”

“No, but Pop Tarts are starting to.”