More than a germ of truth

More than a germ of truth

Column by Kay Frances

I was a germophobe before it was cool. The world is finally catching up with such basic practices as hand washing and distancing themselves from people who are hacking and coughing.

I’ve been training for this my entire life.

I am about two OCD quirks away from being Howard Hughes and never leaving my house again. So, when the pandemic hit, it was like a dream come true for me. Staying six feet away from people? Great! Can we make it 12?

I will admit that I’ve watched far too many TV specials with hidden cameras where they show the unsanitary practices of, well, everybody and everything. After I found out that the TV remotes in hotels are beset with all manner of unsavory substances, I started carrying a plastic baggie to wrap around it. Either that, or I’d just lock into one channel so I could minimize my contact with it.

I’ve never been fond of shaking hands and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if that practice disappeared forever. And, since people cough into their elbows, I’m not crazy about the “elbow bump” either. For that matter, I no longer care to lock elbows in a square dance to “allemande” which I think is a Greek word for “petri dish.” How about we just don’t touch at all?

They say you should wash your hands to the tune of “Happy Birthday” and do it twice. Like that song isn’t annoying enough. And, who are we singing to, “Happy Birthday Dear Knuckles?” And, is that even long enough? I think we should wash them to the album cut of the old 1960s classic “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” which clocks in at just over 17 minutes.

I do understand that we need some microbes — aka “good germs” — when we are young to help our immune systems develop. I guess that’s why my parents had no problem with me making mud pies as a kid. They never questioned if I ate them or not. And, now that I think about it, I engaged in all sorts of “immunity building” activities, like drinking straight from a garden hose or using the public drinking fountain. Some kids would wrap their mouths around the entire thing. Even then, I thought that was disgusting, but it didn’t stop me from taking my turn at the trough.

We were taught to wash our hands, but only before meals. And, before paper towels, we just dried our hands on the same towel the rest of the family used. I guess it was changed out occasionally, but I don’t remember giving it any thought. I do know that the cloth towels in gas station restrooms weren’t a beacon of sanitation. When you got to the end of the roll, you would just dry your hands on the same spot as the previous 12 patrons.

I don’t want to sound completely anti-social. If you see me out and about, please come up and say “hi.” I’ll be the one in the hazmat suit.

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