Death by Hand Sanitizer

lisa smarttIn a few years, when most members of society are living in individual plastic bubbles, my family and I will still be roaming free out here in the country.  Yep!  We’ll still be out here in the filthy, dusty, germ-infested, chicken-inhabited, cat-fur-flying-through-the-air country.   But don’t worry.  I’ll come to visit you, friend.  I’ll even bring those little disinfectant wipes you’ve grown to know and love.  You can wipe down the inside of your plastic bubble daily with disinfectant wipes.  Don’t forget to spray a little Lysol on the oxygen supply hose and you’ll feel right at home.

Some of you sanitation enthusiasts may find this bewildering but I don’t use hand sanitizer at all.  I don’t keep it in my purse.  I don’t carry a cute little bottle of it on a key chain and I don’t have it hanging from the mirror in my car in case of a “sanitizing emergency.”  In fact, I’m not sure I’d even recognize a “sanitizing emergency” if I had one.  I mean, I don’t remember the last time a raw chicken jumped up and slapped me in the face while driving down the road.  And that’s the only thing I can think of that would merit a complete sanitary scrub down.

My entire family is daily exposed to the rest of society and we’re perfectly alright with it.  You can hug us.  You can shake our hands.  You can even pat us on the back without us running into another room to change shirts.  We even frequent stores where members of the general public are allowed to roam free and unmonitored.  Yes, we use the carts they used.  We squeeze the bread they squeezed.  We even pick up books or magazines that have been touched by “heaven knows who else.”  And when we come out of the store?  It’s simple really.  We just get in the car, drive home, do our homework, and move on with our lives.  No sanitation procedures required.  None.

I know.  Some of you have had to do a full-body Lysol spray after just reading the above description of our life on the edge.  Of course, we do believe in hand-washing at our house.  Before we come to the supper table each night, we wash our hands with soap and water.  After our younger son tends to the chickens and brings in the eggs, he washes his hands with soap and water.  But that’s about it.  We keep a moderately-clean home.  We take showers.  We’re rarely ill and we think we live a pretty decent life.

I realize that some people have special immunity problems and they must live a life of caution and extreme cleanliness.  I’m sensitive to that fact.  But as for the rest of you, stop and think.  Your body builds immunity through moderate and normal exposure to the germs that surround us.  Perhaps it’s not the germs you’re afraid of, but the people themselves.  If so, that’s a different column for a different day.  What’s that?  Do we spray the doorknobs with Lysol after you visit our home for the evening?  What do you think?  We don’t even own a can of Lysol.   After you leave our home, the four of us observe a long-held American ritual.  We polish off the rest of the chocolate cake.