2161: An Apple a Day
|An Apple a Day|
Title text: Even the powerful, tart Granny Smith cultivar is proving ineffective against new Gran-negative doctors.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a GRAN-NEGATIVE APPLE-RESISTANT DOCTOR. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
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"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a common English proverb and rhyme. The suggestion is that eating one apple daily will keep you healthy, and therefore reduce your necessity to go to the doctor, or, more literally and as used to be the case when this proverb was likely written, to have the doctor come to you.
Megan is giving a talk, starting with the common proverb, before continuing with "At least, used to." In a normal scenario, this may be to imply that eating apples is no longer enough to stay healthy. However, in this comic, this expression is reinterpreted to mean that apples are to doctors what antibiotics are to bacteria. It also suggests that keeping doctors away is of great importance, presumably because doctors in this scenario are threatening. Megan continues with her reinterpretation, humorously mentioning that doctors have become resistant to apples, and in some cases become completely immune. This references situations where creatures can adapt to deal with threats, especially how some bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. In this case, the comic advocates only using the 'finest' apples in case all others prove unsuccessful (a reference to multidrug-resistant pathogens, where some antibiotics are only used as a last-resort)
Additionally, this comic is a clear reference to the overuse of antibiotics in modern medicine, leading to an increase in antimicrobial resistance ("Superbugs"), which has seen increasing awareness in the last few years. The World Health Organization had the first Antibiotic Awareness Week in 2015, where a talk similar to the one in the comic would seem very appropriate.
In the title text this is taken further: Gran-negative is a pun on Gram-negative, a type of bacterium. A well-known technique called Gram staining distinguishes two types of bacteria (Gram positive versus Gram negative) on the basis of properties of their cell walls.
Mentioned in the comic and title text, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith are two different cultivars of apples. Granny Smith apples are a sour green apple, which have mixed feelings among apple eaters. Conversely, Honeycrisp is considered "an ideal apple for eating raw", and is the state fruit of Minnesota.
- [Megan is facing straight out of a slim panel as she stands behind a lectern addressing the reader.]
- Megan: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
- Megan: Or at least, it used to.
- [The comic zooms out revealing that Megan and the lectern are standing on a podium. Megan is pointing behind her, with a stick, to at a poster prominently featuring Doctor Ponytail with three apples over her head.]
- Megan: Over time, some doctors have developed a resistance to apples. Keeping them away takes two or three apples instead of one.
- Megan: And there are worrying signs that a few doctors have become completely immune.
- [The comic zooms in again on Megan behind the lectern.]
- Megan: So we must stockpile our finest apples in reserve, using them to fend off only the very worst doctors.
- Megan: Honeycrisps still work on most of them, but we don't know for how long.
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