My good friend Michelle is a borderline neurotic germaphobe. She carries Ass Gaskets (toilet seat liners) in her purse. Despite this, in public bathrooms, she still hovers to pee, uses her foot to flush, dispenses the paper towel before she washes her hands and uses the paper towel to turn off the faucets and open the bathroom doors. When her now nearly (GASP!) 16 year old nephew was a little boy, she passed this crazy on to him (possibly not the hovering part).
It goes without saying that I give her a never ending rash of shit over this obsessive compulsive behavior. She responds that people are gross (granted) and that it’s unhealthy not to do these things. I remind her that if these things were true we wouldn’t be here now. I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have Ass Gaskets. The prairie dwelling farmers of the 18th century had no running water or disinfecting hand soap. Hell, Purell hand sanitizer, in which she should own stock, didn’t even exist until the last decade or so.
Don’t get me wrong. I agree it’s important to take precautions and I never, EVER, leave the bathroom without at least running some water over my hands, (to quote Boston Legal’s Allen Shore , “I keep a very clean penis.”) but I do think it’s possible to go overboard and she has certainly done that.
Today, while sitting in the stall in the office mensroom I was reminded of all this when, while taking care of my own business, I listened as no fewer than three “Gentlemen” came into the bathroom, took care of their business, and left again with nary a drop of water spilled in the basin. This is particularly disturbing to me because I work for a health care organization (don’t worry, no medical personnel here). However, it got me thinking, if germs were so rampant, there’d be no hope for us in my office because clearly there are germs being spread like crazy.
I thought about this… I thought about it a lot… I thought about it while I was washing my hands (three times)… And while I was using the automatic feature to dispense a paper towel… And while I used the paper towel to open the door when I left.