My fear of germs gets worse the older I get.
Today, some women in my office were talking about a new nail salon and I mentioned that I will never get a manicure or pedicure from a salon ever again. This is why. Ever seen a salon worker disinfect a foot bath? Sure. Did she let the disinfectant sit on the surface for 10 minutes and run the spa jets like the EPA recommends? Probably not. Oh yeah, and did I mention bacteria can live inside of the jets of that foot bath? So, the next time that thing is turned on, you get staph sprayed all over your barking dogs. And you thought those bunions were the most disgusting thing on your feet. Bacterial infections? Necrotizing fasciitis? Skin ulcers? No, thank you.
This is the kind of shit that keeps me awake at night.
I’ve written about the top five things that scare me before. Most of them – creepily enough – were related to babies in some way. But that is a psychoanalysis for another post. Today, I share with you, my top four germophobias. We’ve already been through nail salons. Here’s three more.
1. Library Books
What could be wrong with sharing the joy of reading with your community? How about the 732 people who fondled the pages of that book before you did? Ever see an odd stain on a library book page and wonder what it is? For your own safety, from now on, just imagine that unidentified smudge is the bodily fluids of a person infected with SARS.
Because it probably is.
Whenever I look at a library book, I always picture the person who borrowed it before me read the entire thing while perched on his toilet, using boogers as bookmarks along the way.
And don’t even get me started on the keyboards of the library computers…
2. Community Nuts
You’re sitting at the bar and the bowl of nuts is sitting there looking like a delicacy. What is it about bars that makes people look at a bowl of public snacks like it’s some sort of delicacy? Oh yeah. Booze. No sober person would ever eat snacks that had been fingered by the grubby, unwashed hands of fellow bar rats.
But what about sharing a can of your own nuts? To me, this is just as bad as sharing nuts with countless strangers. Here’s why. Next time you have a can of nuts, grab a pinch-full and place ’em in your mouth. Now, go through this in slow motion. First, when you picked up the nuts, a few of them slipped out of your fingers and back into the can. Germs. Then, when you put them in your mouth, you touched your lip with your fingers. More germs. Now, you go back for more nuts with your double-germy fingers. We’ll refer to these germs as “snackwash” because they fall out of your hand and back into the community bowl – much like backwash flows back into a shared beverage. My can of nuts has now become a petri dish. I pop the lid on and toss the rest of the nuts in the trash when you are gone.
In case you’re wondering, no, I do not feel the same way about other snacks such as a bag of chips. That’s because chips are grippable, and it is less likely to result in a lot of snackwash. Also, you don’t “dip” your fingers into the center of the container to pinch out your serving. Otherwise you’d crush the rest of the chips.
3. Gasket Up
A lot of women fear toilet seats. It’s a legitimate concern. That’s why the “hover” technique has become the friend of women far and wide. Everyone knows it’s the best way to use a public restroom without catching a disease.
However, short legs don’t make it possible to squat without actually touching porcelain. That’s where the gasket comes in. I’ve always been one to completely cover the toilet seat with paper before sitting down. This technique is referred to as the gasket. And it has saved me from countless venereal diseases throughout the years.