I'm no doctor or scientist, so you know my opinion is valid when I say we freak out way too much about germs. People have hand sanitizer with them in their purses, bags, cars, desks, lunch boxes. If we think we caught a germ, we must sanitize. If we touch anything in the bathroom, especially the toilet, we begin a frantic quarantine process.
My response? It's a one-word answer that's the name and tag line of a card game which starts with "bull" and rhymes with "it."
Again, I'm no doctor or scientist, so I think I'm pretty right here, but I think we're raising up a generation of weak, sniveling germaphobes with immune systems as strong as JoePa's arthritic pinky finger.
You can disagree with me all you want. I will only respond with a couple of points:
1. I couldn't care less about sanitation, and I rarely become sick and have seen no pattern of sickness in my life. People that sanitize like crazy? Those are the ones I see getting sick. And because they keep getting sick, they become more obsessed with de-germing everything, and the sick (...hehe.) cycle continues.
2. I'm obviously qualified to make any statement I want about germs and their effect on the immune system.
Seriously, though, if I could make ANY point, and if you walk away from reading this hearing anything, I'd like it to be this:
People are inconsistent in "disinfecting" or "sanitizing," and we all pick and choose what things in our lives to disinfect. We focus on the bathroom and are convinced that by thoroughly washing/cleaning, we have fortified ourselves when we conveniently ignore the 88 other items we will touch through the course of our day that carry as many germs, if not more, as the toilet or *gasp* the bathroom door handle. So in reality, while we may do our best to reduce the overall exposure to germs, the simple fact of the matter is this: you can't stop them. They're gonna get you.
So this is much less (actually, it's not even) an argument that cleaning doesn't help. This is an argument that our germaphobic craze is wildly inconsistent, partial, and even hypocritical. I've seen so many people cringe at the thought of someone not washing their hands after using the bathroom, but not bat an eye after eating their food just after handing the cashier their disgusting, germ-infested 10 dollar bill. And you can say, "OH, I wash my hands after handling money." Again. Bull. I've seen even the staunchest of germaphobes forget to wash their hands after touching some form of money. Or eating ANYTHING in your car. It's almost laughable.
To help make my argument, and hopefully drive some of you germaphobes insane, I will now list several things that are relatively as germ-infested or more germ-infested than, say, your "disgusting" toilet. A lot of these items harbor anywhere from 4 to 400 times the germs your toilet has. Good luck sanitizing and cleaning all of these, all the time. Better invest in Tylenol stock while you can:
- the kitchen sink
- the sponges and dishrags in your kitchen sink
- microwave buttons
- your computer keyboard
- your cell phone
- your car
- the wallet in your back pocket
- any money
- light switches
- restaurant menus
- TV remotes
- any doorknob
- wet laundry
- public water fountains
- somebody's hand you just shook
- shopping cart handles
- ATM buttons
- YOUR PURSE
- the bathtub
- the office phone
- gas station pump handles and buttons
- any and all public transportation. all of it.
- elevator buttons
- the office desk
- the pen you use at the bank
- bedsheets and comforters that haven't been washed weekly or bi-weekly
- your welcome mat
- the playground
- picnic tables
Oh, and there are plenty more I didn't list. Sleep tight, my friends. Sleep tight.