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And if you wash your ass, you'd best use soap...
by linz at 10:00 AM on August 08, 2002

A debate is raging between myself, my sister, my sister's fiancé and anyone else we can drag into it.

The question: what’s grosser than gross?

In our antibacterially-saturated market, fueled by the ever-increasing knowledge banks of science, we find bigger & better ways to distract ourselves from things that matter & instead worry about the microscopic germs that never hurt our ancestors but apparently scare the crap out of us. Hey, I am not saying I am innocent either... I feel Cleaner when I use antibacterial hand soap after petting my neighbor's greasy dog than if I use regular hand soap. (For that matter, does anyone use bar soap to wash their hands anymore or do we all use pumps?) And who doesn't love those cleaning wipes (much like baby wipes, but for counters, not butts)? So convenient.

So my sister. And her fiancé. He is of a much more anal lineage than we are. And the frightening thing is that he is tainting (or purifying?) her with his paranoia. The following are items to which we disagree about the grossness:

1. Using & reusing a dishrag to wipe countertops (instead of a disposable paper towel).

2. Using this same dishrag to wash dishes.

3. Taking a recently used spoon from the mostly-empty sink & using it again for something or other. I mean eating something or other, don’t get nasty on me.

4. Wearing shoes in the living room.

5. Offering a plate you've been eating from, but of which you've had your fill, to someone you know or love.

6. The five second rule.

7. Allowing dishes in the dishwasher to overlap pretty generously, though leaving some sort of point of entry for the water flow.

8. Drinking from the carton.

9. Not putting contact paper on shelves where you put your dishes in a new apartment.

10. Sucking a lollipop that fell to the floor in a bar. Um… okay, there were a couple of reasons why I thought that was okay that night but I doubt I’d do it again.

The only item we all agree on is when a friend from my sister’s high school days came through town with his 3 stinky cats, it was unacceptable for him to clip his toenails on our living room floor. The fact that our cat got worms shortly after their visit was also unacceptable.

Anyway, my conclusion is that I am the dirtiest of all of us, as I do not object to any of the numbered issues above. I have this theory that behaviors like this keep your immune system tough. Or something. Who ever heard of someone being poisoned by a sink spoon? And aren't we building supergerms? Yeah.

comments (14)

There are a few things on that list that I would not do...but there are others that I find no problem with. I mean why not use reuse a dishrag to wash the counter after they have washed dishes. That is not problem! As long as there is not dirty dish goop on it.

by Danielle at August 8, 2002 10:39 AM


Sure, the same germs that freak us out now never bothered our ancestors, but they only had local germs to worry about. Now, on a daily basis, we are faced with microbiological enemies from all over the world. In New York City, fuggedaboutit, there are germs here from countries that don't even have people - countries that are nothing more than germs - there UN delegation arrives in test tubes. So, hell yeah, I'm worried about germs. Still, I can't help my self from licking the poles on the subway, I just love me some pole licking.

by mg at August 8, 2002 12:48 PM


You love pole licking? You turned me down last time...

by snaggle at August 8, 2002 02:15 PM


he turned you down because you're not gay enough. sorry i had to break it to you.

by Eviltom at August 8, 2002 08:41 PM


Call me crazy, but I feel like I'm starting to sense a common current in all of Eviltom's comments. If I just close my eyes & let intuition be my guide, I might just figure out what exactly it is.

by Linz at August 9, 2002 09:59 AM


I try to keep my real life and my blog life separated, but i feel the time has come to reveal that in real life, i am a nationally acknowledged handwashing expert.

Soap, whether anti-bacterial or not, is a only a surfactant. Soap in any form loosens and binds dirt, germs and even viruses and copious amounts of clean water rinses it all away.

Antibacterial soap benefits the plumbing, not your hands.

All this on my day off, too.

by bob the corgi at August 10, 2002 04:20 PM


There is a guy in my gym who methodically wipes down the machines with his personal rag and bottle of disinfectent. 1/2 the time I think that I should do same. The other 1/2 of the time I rejoice that I am not him, but this is how it is if you have Libra in your chart.

by verymodern at August 11, 2002 09:01 PM


I guess I hardly ever think about germs. I don't mind bar soap, but I prefer a big huge bottle of anti-grease dish soap for everything, including hands. Anyway, from your list:

1. Why keep rewashing a good wash rag? Who cleans counters anyway? :) (joking)
2. I don't know if I'd use the dirty rag to wash dishes, but I might use the dish rag to clean the counters.
3. Depending what was on the spoon, you can wash it quickly and reuse it. Though I'd only reuse my own without thoroughly washing it.
4. How is wearing shoes in the living room bad? I guess I don't because shoes feel to heavy and tight to wear indoors when you can take them off and be more comfortable.
5. The only person I ever offered my unfinished food to was my dad...and doesn't every dad finish their kids' food?
6. If it landed on the floor, it's in the trash.
7. I hate loading the dishwasher, so I just stick stuff in and if it overlaps...I've never given it a thought. Who cares?
8. Drinking from the carton is okay if you are finishing it or are the only one using it.
9. Contact paper is a good idea. Especially when you're the thirtieth person to live there.
10. I'd be hesitant to touch ANYTHING that touched a bar floor.

by MrAnonymous at August 14, 2002 01:05 AM


Yucky keyboards are gross. Like mine.

You no touch or hand fall off.

by quicksilver at August 21, 2002 03:20 PM


This is grosser than gross. My son was just released from the hospital from a virus that was past probably from cups---sippy cups. I washed them stuffed thm in the dishwasher (more energy efficient ) and never differentiated the cup his siblings used from his. There is a point to the maddness, but if the maddness overtakes your everyday activites, that is obsessive compulsive disorder. There is a pill for that. (Of course, now consider the path the pill took--manufacturer, pharmacist, nurse, doctor ---then you wonder do they practice the five second rule? Did they cough on there hand before touching the pill? How long can a pill sit on the counter before it has cooties---or in my hand? See---the madness can overtake your everyday..So---

If you are healthy and doing good----don't stress.

But if you go to the hospital for germy infections --reconsider present habits.

I washed my hands before typing this :) lol. (Pump soap-antibacterial-no more than 30 days old)

OCD there's a pill for that.

by S at March 10, 2003 01:57 AM


Oh the shoe thing in the living room---

Pesticides, dog poop, people's spit, cow turd or fertilizer depending on your view, microbes, allergens, pollen, dander, gumfrom unidentified saliva source, bad kharma if you crushed an insect, the insect guts, the insect poop rom the fertilized soil you stomped on,

all this on the bottom of your shoe--

so do you wear shoe's in the living room?

by s at March 10, 2003 02:03 AM


I don't wear shoes where I live. I'm Chinese, and I can't seem to get the conditioning out of me. Kind of like in The Bourne Identity, which I just watched. I could wake up with amnesia but be unable to walk on deep-pile carpets with my shoes on, I'll bet. And shoes on the bed?? I'd have an apopleptic fit. But I ate at a C-rated Vietnamese restaurant today (in L.A. County, that's 70-80% score on your health inspection, at "D" I believe you get shut down) and it was GOOD.
When I was in Hong Kong, I saw the dirtiest bathroom in my life. It was in a restaurant at the end of a dark, dirty hallway. Black, slimey stuff covered the tiled floor and the bottom half of the walls. Water dripped from the ceiling. There was no surface that was white, off-white, or even yellow. Everything was sort of orangey, except for the before-mentioned black stuff. Soap was about as present as a cool glass of water in Hell. On my way out, I noticed a bushel of cabbage, uncovered, right next to the bathroom door. Flies were buzzing around it. I was in terror as I sat down to eat, but my friends assured me that it was the best eatery in the neighborhood. And I did survive, and now I tell you this tale. :)

by jean at March 10, 2003 05:01 AM


1. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.-yukio m.
2. The antibacterial soap mostly kills the "good" bacteria.
3. I agree with George Carlin who says we are now
breeding "pussies" in America due
to car seats, bicycle helmets, antibacterial soap, etc.
are we so afraid of death/sickness that we forgot how to live.

also, what's blog?-rookie

by pinzana at April 23, 2004 11:37 AM


A blog is a kind of Web site like this one. Try going to the home page to read new posts... see ya there!

by jean at April 23, 2004 10:50 PM


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