How To Wash Your Hands Or Someone Else’s If Things Have Come To That


Let’s suppose you’ve decided to go along with last week’s advice and wash your hands. If you’re not willing to then I’m afraid we aren’t going to do anything useful here. Maybe we should meet again next week when I’m going to talk about how movies get made or some other nonsense like that. While I admit I’m responsible for most of what goes on around here, I can’t do absolutely everything. At some point you have to read it or in some sense neither of us exists. That sense is foolish.

To wash your hands you need a couple of things, which is how they make their money. First is your hands, or the hands of someone who’s entrusted them to your care. If they are someone else’s hands do be sure you don’t return them to the wrong person. Returning hands to the wrong person can lead to embarrassing situations. It throws off their typing and they send text messages to incorrect people. If you take anything away from this essay it should be the importance of good inventory management practices. Bring them back when you’re done.

You’ll need water, which can be found by turning on the faucet. This you do by turning the handle or pressing it down or pushing a button or something like that if it’s the kind of faucet that works. Or you might be at one of the city’s numerous weekend jazz street festivals. They’ll have those things where you step on a partly deflated rubber bladder so the spout spits a mouthful of tepid water at you. You don’t have to support the city in its weekend jazz street festival habit, you know.

If you have one of those sensor-driven faucets then you get water by punching it. At least I do. I have a skin condition which results in my being invisible to hand sensors. In public bathrooms I have to stand helpless by the sink. Then I have to wait for someone to come near and then shove their hands under the faucet, scrub swiftly as possible, and flee before they can identify me.

Identifying me is easy considering how often I wear t-shirts for obscure amusement parks and how I am taller than every person in Singapore. That last was more identifying back when I lived in Singapore. Now it’s only a solid identifier if the person I’ve technically-speaking committed battery against happens to know Singaporean demographics. You get less of that in mid-Michigan than you’d think. Not a lot less, only maybe six percent less. Still, less is less. Oh, I might also have technically committed a kidnapping across urinal lines. Anyway, I’m tall and I guess there have to be some drawbacks for how great it is otherwise.

Besides water you’ll need soap. Soap comes in solid form if you want to touch something that’s been repeatedly rubbed by strangers who needed to wash their hands. It also comes in liquid form if you want to not be sure you have enough of it. And finally it comes in a foamy form that smells great but never seems like enough even if you have a foamy puddle large enough to conceal a guinea pig. I bet someone’s working on another kind of soap even more generally inadequate. Maybe it’s a sensor-driven spray of ultraviolet waves that might not even exist. They’ll get called particles because it makes the diagrams of how to use the thing more cute. You just know they’re going to do that. Punch the ultraviolet-particle soap dispenser now, before it even exists, and don’t stop.

To clean the hands apply water and soap to your hands or the hands of those in your cleaning custody until cleaning is done. Drying your hands afterward used to be optional but not required. Many of us liked doing without this step. It let us brush a slightly-soapy water film over the whole world, one or two hands-widths at a time. But with the rise in smart phones there’s no doing that anymore. The water gets underneath your phone’s protective screen layer somehow and screws up everything, even tapping stuff nowhere near the trapped water bubble. Such are the ways new technology ruins old lifestyles.

A squirt of hand sanitizer is an excellent way to turn hands you’re not sure are clean into hands that feel gummy and unclean. I recommend it. Time things right and you can spend the whole day washing your hands, and wouldn’t that be an improvement on whatever you were otherwise up to?

Maybe Guys Just Grimace Themselves Clean?


I don’t go in for most stereotypically guy behaviors, because they’re nearly all terrible, based on finding a thing and doing so much of it that someone is made to weep. Pretty much the only guy behaviors I’ll hew to are bringing all the bags of groceries in from the car in a single trip, and feeling like I should spend more time in auto parts stores. I can just look up what kind of windshield wiper blades my car takes one more time.

But I did get a pack of Dial For Men, because we kind of needed soap sometime in the none too distant future, and it’s kind of delightful how they went and took a product that in principle anybody might use (“soap”) and tried to target it more towards my immediate gender. The key elements, as best I can tell:

  1. It’s got “For Men” imprinted in the bar of soap, so as to scare off any women-types with fancy ideas of washing their hands.
  2. It’s got little hand-grippy inset bars embedded on the side so as to look more like some kind of silly gadget people stare at in the kinds of action/science-fiction movies where you kind of hope you don’t recognize any of the actors because you’d feel bad for them having to appear in this kind of movie.
  3. It’s grey, so it looks that little bit more like you dropped it in the muddy snow outside.
  4. Instead of vaguely smelling like flowers or strawberries or cream, they’ve made it smell just generally less pleasant, to match the important guy trait of wanting to smell not quite pleasant.

Oh, yes, the other bit thing they did was give upon selling it, because it was on clearance for $1.58 for three bars. Apparently, Dial-type men don’t use soap, and goodness knows if they’re even into water. They just let the auto parts store smear them with some kind of wax and call that clean. And it’s not a very nice-smelling wax either.

Foamy Days


I was aware getting my hair cut would have consequences. It always does. The most important is that I don’t have two-thirds of my disposable income going to shampoo purchases anymore. But there’s always this period after the haircut where I’m still slathering on shampoo as if I had the former medicine ball full of hair, and that’s maybe 2,038 times the shampoo I actually need, so the rest goes into foam manufacture.

What I’m saying is, yes, I’m aware that there’s a mass of shampoo-bubble-foam the volume of an Olympic swimming pool that’s escaped from the bathroom and is making its way up West Shiawassee Street, grabbing cars and mopping them clean before setting the baffled drivers back on their way. I’ll deal with it.