Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dirty Thumbs

Because I'm so entirely annoyed right now about the ANWR decision, I've decided to lighten up this place with an observation I made back in December that deserves posting here:

I wash my hands every day. In fact, I wash them about 5 times a day. I don't do this because I'm obsessive-compulsive, although perhaps I act that way when I eat M&Ms only in even numbers. I do it because I don't want to get sick. And, as an added bonus, I'm soothed by the warm water.

I most often wash upon returning from errands at lunch. I come back from the downtown TJ Maxx feeling like I should sanitize.

Despite my disciplined washing, I often forget my thumbs. When I realize they've been neglected, I hop to it.

Now I want you to think about the last time you washed your thumbs. Not "washed" as in "happened to glance them with a whispering of water and soap intended for fingers pointer through pinky." I mean, grabbing that big, curved, wider-than-thou sucker and scrubbing the daylights out of it. Unless you're a surgeon or a person who hitchhikes in gale-force winds near a sewage pond, I bet you haven't washed them purposely EVER. Am I right?

OK, maybe you did once in the mid-nineties after you painted your living room. But, since then?

Our thumbs are opposable for a reason. For every use of the hand, the thumb is usually participating. For every finger task, the thumb at least provides backup, and at most is an equal partner in the endeavor. So it gathers bacteria and sludge from around the way. And it needs to be cleaned before it heads back to work.

I say all this assuming the people who read it already wash their hands. If you don't, please start. I'd rather not hack up Rhode Island-sized lugers because I happened to walk into a coffee shop behind you after you pawed the door open with your personal five-digited germtopia.

And for all you people who sneeze INTO your hands, instead of into the corner of your arm or a Kleenex: 1) thanks for not exploding into the airspace but: 2) make sure you wash twice. And scrub up your arms a bit, too, eh?

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