Finger-Licking Bad

Wouldn’t you agree with me that a germophobe makes painstaking efforts to stay clean?  Aren’t we especially particular about our hands?  Yet none of us eat with our hands and lick our fingers clean afterwards.  Am I right?  Then you will commiserate with me when you read what follows.

I work in an office where a lot of paperwork is passed between various staff members, and I work with a goodly number of non-washers.  Not only that, some of the papers are turned into the office by customers.  I’ve seen them with all manner of stains.  As a consequence, I use rubbing alcohol frequently to sanitize my hands, but sometimes the contamination is so atrocious (like the document with the shoeprint on it) that I have to cleanse with alcohol and then wash up at the sink.

Despite my valiant endeavor to keep my hands in a reasonably clean state, I would never eat with my hands.  The only way I ever do that is if my hands are freshly washed and dried with a tissue right out of the box, and even then I’ve only eaten a piece of fruit that way in recent years.  When at work, I don’t even like to keep my food in the refrigerator because of the rampant filth.  (I’ve seen floor mats on the tables in the break room.)  I do keep some food in the freezer, but I use a small shelf in the door that no one else uses.  Most of my food is kept in my cubicle.  Today I was attempting to eat a snack at my desk, a wedge of room-temperature cheese.  I peeled back the wrapper and leaned in for a bite.  Imagine my dismay when, in my efforts to avoid touching the wrapper with my tongue, I licked my finger instead!  And it had been only minutes since I had touched some gross-looking documents.

I found myself in one of those suspended animation moments.  I stared motionless at my piece of cheese while trying to process what had happened.  What would I do?  I don’t keep any alcohol-based mouthwash at work, but I should.  Instead of eating the cheese, I placed it on a napkin and began looking through my personal items for anything that I might be able to use to cleanse my mouth.  The desk drawer turned up nothing.  Out of desperation I looked in the cabinet where I keep some of my snacks, but what could possibly be there that would help me?  Then I saw it:  a box of baking soda!  I keep the baking soda to scour out my teacup, but now it was going to be used to sanitize my mouth!  I rinsed several times with the baking soda water, and I felt such relief.

Once again, necessity is the mother of invention.  I concede that it’s not actually an invention, but it was a fortuitous discovery.  Now I don’t really need the mouthwash.  In fact, I also keep a tiny container of salt at my desk.  That could be used in the same manner.  I should carry a tiny salt shaker in my purse so that I’m always prepared!  That’s typical germophobe extremist thinking.

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