There seems to be something in the human psyche that makes each of us reluctant to eat the last cookie on the plate, especially if the cookie is part of a communal ritual. If a dozen cookies are on the plate and if a group of people are invited to “have a cookie,” no one is reluctant to eat the first one. But the last one might lie there until it turns stale. I have no idea why.
I tested my hypothesis over and over again during a year of my teaching career at Weiser High School. I came to depend on the last cookie, or the last piece of cake to sit in the teacher’s break room and wait for me until my afternoon prep period. The last cookie was always there. And I was grateful for the nice teacher who brought cookies most days.
At first I was reluctant to break the communal taboo. There was something almost sacred about the last cookie, but I finally decided I had enough strength of character to eat. If it was a sugar cookie, I’d dunk it in my coffee and enjoy.