Sometimes I write about the news, and sometimes I write about a viral TikTok video in which a veterinarian eats an orange like an apple. The latter is an opportunity you can’t pass up. To reiterate, this man is eating an orange like an apple. That is, he’s biting directly into the skin and flesh, rather than peeling it first. Watching this happen is so much worse than I had anticipated.
First off, it’s clear why this clip went viral and was covered by outlets like BuzzFeed. There are many correct ways to eat an orange—peeled, sliced, segmented, supremed, perhaps candied—and this is not one of them. Even if the orange were peeled, eating it like an apple is full-on Coneheads behavior, the kind of act committed by an alien wearing a human skinsuit and trying to blend in with the locals until the mothership arrives.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the man featured in the video, Dr. Jeff Smith of Family Vet in Danville, Virginia, seems like an otherwise totally normal guy. If this was someone who had built a career on being off-putting and unhinged, I’d feel much more comfortable saying things like “this is the kind of behavior reserved for a darkened basement lit by the glow of a computer screen and a subscription-only webcam.” Or that such an act of barbarism is what happens when circumstances have stripped away an already thin veneer of civilization and exposed the beating, festering heart that is the human id. But, absent any other information aside from the protestations of his coworkers, the orange thing seems like a one-off.
Regardless, what I know is this: Humanity has already established best practices for eating an orange. Would you eat a footlong sandwich starting in the middle? Or, god forbid, eat a banana without peeling it? Moreover, the sections of an orange are already perforated and individually encased for our enjoyment. Aren’t we already washing our hands enough right now, without further coating them in rivulets of sticky juice that result from biting straight into an unpeeled orange? We can’t allow behavior like this to flourish, much less in times of crisis.