May 152020

I wasn’t really clear on how dirty our old world was, until we entered this new normal. Now, everywhere I look, advertisements try to convince consumers that their service or product is the cleanest. What does this say about our former life?

The car dealership where I bought my last car is running a commercial that touts the cleanliness of their showroom. I remember buying my car, just like it was yesterday. I entered the showroom, and was approached by a salesman. He asked me what I was looking for, and I responded, “I’m interested in that red sedan over there behind the pile of rancid buffalo dung.”

And who doesn’t remember ordering pizza. Now one of the national chains advertises that no one touches the pizza after it comes out of the oven. Don’t you remember the good old days when you stood in line to pick up your pizza at a counter that was covered with dirt, rotten eggs, and half-empty bottles of motor oil? You watched as your pizza came out of the oven and every employee in the place stuck an ungloved hand, palm down, in the middle of your pepperoncini and sausage. After each employee fondled your pizza, it was handed to the greasy man in front of you in line, and each of his six snot-nosed children touched the box. Ah, those were the good old days!

Many local organizations advertise that they use spray cleaning products which are safe for humans. Why it is, then, that workers shown spraying mist into the air of a particular space, are suited up as if ready for a moon walk? As someone who has lung disease, I was once harmed by a co-worker who sprayed a chemical on herself in my office that keeps clothing from sticking to your body, While she was wrinkle free, I was writhing on the floor in a bad asthma attack, unable to breathe.

Now I realize we have a virus to kill. But the uber-emphasis on cleaning makes me wonder just what we were exposed to before. Did people not wash their hands before? During cold and flu season, were we not mindful of shaking hands, touching doorknobs in public places, or pressing elevator doors?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question. But maybe some unexpected good will come out of it. Because we are all so fearful of COVID, perhaps next year’s influenza season will have fewer casualties as we’re all reminded of the rules of good hygiene.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a nice toxic mess brewing in my kitchen sink, so I had better don the space suit and get after it.

 wish you all peace and comfort. And if you aren’t a frontline worker, you can support them or others. Send a note, send an email, call an old friend, and donate to your local food bank.

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