Wouldn’t you agree with me that a germophobe makes painstaking efforts to stay clean? Aren’t we especially particular about our hands? Yet none of us eat with our hands and lick our fingers clean afterwards. Am I right? Then you will commiserate with me when you read what follows.
I work in an office where a lot of paperwork is passed between various staff members, and I work with a goodly number of non-washers. Not only that, some of the papers are turned into the office by customers. I’ve seen them with all manner of stains. As a consequence, I use rubbing alcohol frequently to sanitize my hands, but sometimes the contamination is so atrocious (like the document with the shoeprint on it) that I have to cleanse with alcohol and then wash up at the sink.
Despite my valiant endeavor to keep my hands in a reasonably clean state, I would never eat with my hands. The only way I ever do that is if my hands are freshly washed and dried with a tissue right out of the box, and even then I’ve only eaten a piece of fruit that way in recent years. When at work, I don’t even like to keep my food in the refrigerator because of the rampant filth. (I’ve seen floor mats on the tables in the break room.) I do keep some food in the freezer, but I use a small shelf in the door that no one else uses. Most of my food is kept in my cubicle. Today I was attempting to eat a snack at my desk, a wedge of room-temperature cheese. I peeled back the wrapper and leaned in for a bite. Imagine my dismay when, in my efforts to avoid touching the wrapper with my tongue, I licked my finger instead! And it had been only minutes since I had touched some gross-looking documents.
I found myself in one of those suspended animation moments. I stared motionless at my piece of cheese while trying to process what had happened. What would I do? I don’t keep any alcohol-based mouthwash at work, but I should. Instead of eating the cheese, I placed it on a napkin and began looking through my personal items for anything that I might be able to use to cleanse my mouth. The desk drawer turned up nothing. Out of desperation I looked in the cabinet where I keep some of my snacks, but what could possibly be there that would help me? Then I saw it: a box of baking soda! I keep the baking soda to scour out my teacup, but now it was going to be used to sanitize my mouth! I rinsed several times with the baking soda water, and I felt such relief.
Once again, necessity is the mother of invention. I concede that it’s not actually an invention, but it was a fortuitous discovery. Now I don’t really need the mouthwash. In fact, I also keep a tiny container of salt at my desk. That could be used in the same manner. I should carry a tiny salt shaker in my purse so that I’m always prepared! That’s typical germophobe extremist thinking.