The world is a dirty, messy, germ-infested place.
A survey released yesterday by the Kleenex people (who else?) measures the extent of the contamination.
It’s everywhere: 71 per cent of gas pump handles, 43 per cent of escalator rails, 41 per cent of ATM buttons and 40 per cent of parking meters and kiosks are contaminated with disease-causing germs.
Put that together with an earlier survey that as many as one-third of the male population fails to wash its collective hands after going to the bathroom, and you may never touch another doorknob again.
Of course, there are always people who claim a little dirt won’t hurt you, but in this era of work 24-7 (and like it), who can afford the downtime that comes with colds and the flu?
You could get a flu shot, but there is no cure for the common cold, which appears to be even more common than we thought.
You could become germ-o-phobic and wear rubber gloves and a surgical mask and use anti-bacterial wipes, but you’re fighting a losing battle. There are, on average, 229,000 germs per square inch on faucet handles that see frequent use. The world is a Petri dish and you’re the lab rat.
And please cough into the crux of your elbow.
Surveys like the one from Kleenex are big news at the Handwashing for Life Institute in Libertyville, Ill. I am not making this up. Its motto is “Overcoming underwashing” and it is deadly serious about fighting germs.
But the net effect of all the helpful advice on handwashingforlife.com is that it’s way too hard, especially if you have a short attention span, and pointless if you have to go now and you’ve got no time to worry about the relative cleanness of the washroom.
You could spend every minute of your brief existence fighting off germs and you could still get run over by a bus. You have a one-in-246 chance of dying by falling down. There’s even a one-in-200,000 risk of being crushed by an asteroid.
It’s important to realize that germs reach their peak every weekend, at least as far as calling in sick is concerned.
Of course there’s a survey on that, too. A British survey (have these people nothing else to do?), to be precise, indicating that more than one-third of sick calls happen on Monday.
So, even though there are just as many germs per square inch on every other day of the week, Monday is particularly hazardous to your health.
You didn’t need a survey to tell you that, did you?