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Friday, September 30, 2005


I read a recent report about the disturbing handwashing habits of Americans. The American Society of Microbiology observed about 8,000 people using public restrooms and found that only two out of every three people wash their hands after using the bathroom. That means that every third person who touches you may have moments earlier been touching their privates.


That news is gross enough. But the study went further by interviewing 1,000 people about their restroom handwashing habits. 95% claimed to wash their hands. That means that not only are people not washing up, but they're lying about it, too. To me, that indicates that they know they should be washing their hands but for some reason, they still don't.

What's up, non-handwashers? Is there something the rest of us don't know? Were you born with a special gland that secretes a self-cleansing enzyme moments after urination? Do you possess the power to repel germs with your extra-powerful brain? If not, what's so hard about soaping up and rinsing off? It feels good doesn't it? Does it take too much time? Do you secretly think germs are some sort of urban legend like Nessie or the Yeti? Or does part of you think you're just too damned important to wash?

Hmm. Too important to wash. Now, why would someone think that? Maybe they think that their junk is better your junk. Better, cleaner, OK to touch. This could be it.

I hate public bathrooms. I don't even like using the bathroom at work which is really a pretty nice one. I use it but only because I have to. It's hard to not be hyper-aware of people's behavior in there so I've noticed which guys wash and which ones don't and what I find is this: the bigger the ego, the less likely to wash. The company I work for is essentially run by a very small group of very large personalities. It's not even the people that run this place. It's their egos which seem, not unlike parasites, to have attached to their executive hosts and utterly taken over what may have been perfectly reasonable, unaffected people, the kind of people who, oh, I don't know, understand that it's disgusting and rude to touch your twigs and berries and then shake hands. But then again, these characters have so many other issues, proper hygiene is most likely low on their list of things to do, somewhere below spending time with their kids and somewhere above giving me a raise.

Maybe I should do my own study.


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