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THE GERM MAN MANIFESTO
Thanks to a nurturing upbringing, I have always been aware of germs and their place in my life. This awareness can be troubling. Or a bit silly.
At a local restaurant, I take a men’s room break. At the same time, an aproned server hastily enters a stall, performs his necessary bodily function and rushes out the door. He doesn’t flush. He doesn’t wash.
Now, as I prepare to re-enter the diner, I have to touch the same door knob he has just touched. And me without my surgical gloves. I return to the table, wiping right hand on jacket in some kind of leap-of-faith hope that the germs will leave my skin, grow bored of the jacket, and magically disappear.
I’m ready to order a meal and look up to find the very same server politely awaiting instructions, pencil and pad in hand. This is the person who will serve my food, the same one who earlier brought in the place settings and coasters and napkins and handed my granddaughter crayons and coloring book. My wife wonders why I’m just sitting here, staring at the waiter’s hands, temporarily unable to speak.
I finally do what I usually do. Rather than cause an unpleasantness that would be the only thing my family remembers about the evening, I take a deep breath, pretend I’ve seen nothing, and place my order. Everybody has a good time, but I can’t help recalling those glory days way back when our favorite restaurant is El Gringo’s on Crestwood Boulevard. El Gringo’s sells a lot of iced tea each day, so a large tray table of pre-filled glasses sits against a wall. When we arrive to dine, a busboy quickly directs the five of us to a table. While we are being seated, I gaze over Liz’s head at the busboy, watching him go to the iced tea cart, stick all four fingers and thumb a couple of inches into each glass, pick the five of them up, and bring them to our table. He does remember to dry his fingers on a filthy cloth hanging from his belt. Ah, another local meal at another local restaurant. Family bliss comes in small doses.
My life with germs is not an easy one, but I do remember some things I’ve been taught, some of which might actually be true.
Germs are everywhere all the time.
Some germs are germier than others.
You can’t get rid of germs.
Germs are inconvenient.
You can see germs. At least in your worst imaginings.
You can get on with daily life by ignoring germs.
You can lower the germ population in certain instances.
Germs can be moved out of one place and chased to another place. The Leaf Blower process.
Germs R Us.
Aside from these thoughts, I find that avoidance is a wonderful coping tool, so my attacks on germs are only spasmodic. I fight the good fight by quickly retrieving a dropped chip from the floor, hoping that a three-second rule applies. When a friend sneezes into his hands and then reaches out to shake mine, I try to smile through it and then head for the Purell. When an uncovered dish lolls about overnight after a party, I quietly dispose of its contents before anybody comes to claim it. And, when in the dental chair, I just close my eyes at the infractions all about me.
Germ warfare is important but largely ineffective unless you pay very, very close attention.
But if you constantly do that, you won’t have any fun at all
© 2016 A.D. by Jim Reed