World Health Organization says you should wash your hands for as long as it takes you to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. That accounts for the guy in the men's room at East Side Mario's yesterday. (I quickly decided to avoid eye contact.) His hands may have been pristine but his voice was sadly out of tune. Oobadaboobadabing.
I'm not opposed to washing up before I eat and after I go to the washroom or if I've been messing around in nasty stuff but you have to understand I grew up with the saying "gotta eat a little dirt before you die," and I don't get all hyper about accepting the fact that we have to cohabit this world with germs and bacteria (hereafter called germteria) because:
1) I know what to do to minimize their threat, i.e. if you see green stuff waving at you when you open the fridge door you should chuck it
2) Part of what we do should be building up a tolerance to nasty things, i.e. telemarketers, door-to-door evangelists and especially little tiny things we can't see
3) We can't ever eradicate all the bad guys and trying to do so gets our germteria enemy's backs up, causing them to raise funds to become resistant our weapons, and
4) I'm afraid if I start pumping the hand antiseptic at every turn I may end up doing a Lady Macbeth and not be able to stop. I have things to do. Like taking pictures of my cat and writing silly blogposts.
But really, this hand washing thing has almost become a cult. Everyone is telling you how many germterias are on everyday things like doorknobs and your keyboard and how they compare with things you'd expect to be riddled with germteria, like toilet seats. Everywhere you turn there are hand sanitizing stations and signs ordering you to make use of them. On every desk is a bottle of antiseptic. If you shake hands with an associate your eyebrows don't rise anymore when they immediately turn and pump a fistful of foam into their hands. What's next? Daily germteria reports? "If you're thinking about going downtown today, better bring along your CDC approved envirosuit because we have a germ front moving in off the coast."
I get all the stuff about reducing the passing on of disease and illnesses through contact and of the seriousness of the consequences of improper cleaning of surfaces and the benefits of personal hygiene. Many lives have not been lost due to an awareness of hand washing. But just a little bit, when someone feels the need to sanitize their hands immediately after a friendly handshake, don't you want to shake hands with him again just to put that plague back where you intended it to be?
The good thing is, I believe I've stumbled across a great excuse for having a bottle of vodka on my desk.