In Which I Am Very Petty About This Covid-19 Business

I am beyond happy at getting e-mails from every company I’ve ever heard of with explanations for how they clean everything now. Thanks, Best Buy, I’m glad to know that your response to the Covid-19 virus is that now you’re going to clean the store on a regular basis. United Airlines? You’re going to have the air on airplanes actually purified now? That’s fantastic. It’s really interacting well with my hand-washing germ-phobia thing.

Understand: I know that my hand-washing thing is my dumb thing. That it’s wholly irrational. And even that I don’t have a for-real germ phobia either. I know this because I will just forget about it if I’m having a good enough time. I’ll let my hands go, oh, hour without hand-washing. And not even feel anxious about it. My track record on, like, food is even worse, even ignoring the Steve “Pre” Prefontaine waffle incident. Do I hesitate to grab popcorn that’s been spilled on the shelves from the free-sample bins at the farmer’s market? Yes. I hesitate until I’m sure nobody’s watching. A germ phobia is one thing, but me passing up four pieces of cinnamon-sugar-coated popcorn? Never.

I rationalize my hand-washing thing. It’s good practice to wash your hands before handling food. Or after handling food. Or handling pets. Or handing pets food. Or after handling doorknobs. Or after feeding doorknobs to pets. That one indicates I’m extremely confused, probably from lack of sleep. Best to wash my hands and get to bed. Wash after handling garbage. Or walking too slowly past the garbage. Oh, and of course wash my hands after going to the bathroom. For a good long while. Oftentimes my love will realize that I haven’t been seen in over four hours. This is when I’m trapped where I can’t open the door to get out of the bathroom without touching the doorknob, which requires me to go back into the bathroom to wash my hands.

Still, as silly as my hand-washing thing may be you can’t argue with the results: I get sixteen colds a year. And they hurry on out of here in five or six weeks each. I get so many colds that I have to have two or more colds at once just so there’s time. Last Christmas, at my love’s parents, I had four colds stacked one atop the other, all huddled under a trenchcoat and trying to get into Rise of the Skywalkers. My love’s parents, who are in their 70s, were very happy to see me sniffling and coughing. But then I’ve had a cough since that episode of NewsRadio about the crazy rich boss’s autobiography.

Incidentally yes I know faucet handles have their issues. But those faucets that work by some kind of sensor? No. In principle I should like having more things I don’t have to touch. What doesn’t work for me is that they don’t work for me. You know the thing where you put your hands in front of the sensor and water comes on? When I put my hands in front of the sensor water does not come on. I can hold my hands still and no water comes. I can wave my hands and no water comes. I can move my hands around there and no water comes. The only hope I have is if I punch the faucet, and then water comes, until I put my hands under the faucet.

Here’s a real thing that really happened for me for real, in reality, at the farmer’s market yesterday. In the bathroom there was a faucet that was constantly running. So, great! I did the sorts of thing you expect someone to do in a bathroom, and went to wash under the eternal never-stopping fountain of unending water. When I put my hands in the water stream, it stopped. Don’t believe me? Ask the guy at the other sink who looked at this absurd scene and shrugged. He used the hand dryer, because he has the kinds of hands that bathroom hand dryers can dry, unlike mine.

Anyway if you need me I’ll be in the kitchen, boiling the four-USB-outlet power brick that Best Buy still wants me to review.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

9 thoughts on “In Which I Am Very Petty About This Covid-19 Business”

  1. Great post, as always! And I definitely feel your pain. I am a compulsive hand-washer. My pet peeve (one of many on this topic) is public restrooms who put in those faucets that aim the water about an eighth of an inch away from the wall of the sink. There is literally no way to wash your hands without constantly brushing up against the sides of the nasty public sink.

    But on a positive note … kudos to all of those public restroom owners/maintainers who put the trashcan right by the door so you can open up the door with a paper towel and not have to shoot from the 3-point line and hope for the best.


    1. Oh, now, those faucets that just barely reach into the sink basin are one of my peeves too. I suppose it’s a neighborhood peeve and goes to visit anyone who seems likely to feed it. But, boy, someone goes to all the bother of getting a sink with a basin upwards of three feet across and the faucet pours the water right on the edge. You wouldn’t think the aluminum cladding of the faucet would be the expensive part of the plumbing.

      I agree wholeheartedly that we need to thank public restroom folks who put the trash can in a good easy-to-toss place. Also the architects who make the door swing outward from the bathroom so you can leave just by kicking the door.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes, the outward swinging door! A stroke of genius! That designer should get a Nobel prize.

        I was at a restaurant one time and in the restroom and as I turned to exit, I noticed that, even though the door swing in instead of out, that they had mounted a “foot hold” on the door down near the floor so you can open the door with your foot. I nearly wept for joy.


    1. Uh, no, I don’t say things when I’m in the men’s bathroom because I’m in the men’s bathroom. If you want me to say something aloud you’ll have to get me anywhere but a men’s bathroom. I’m not a savage.


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