Ok, I have rescheduled Q & A Monday to another day to be determined later so that you can all put on some green and celebrate St. Patrick's day. Since they say that yellow and blue make green, I am wearing blue pants and a yellow shirt to work.
I’ve heard of someone wanting to wash their hands of a particular office memo or corporate directive, but I’ve never heard of a company issuing a memo or interoffice directive about hand washing. When I received it in our staff meeting, I thought to myself, boy does my employer care about me. Then I realized it was probably more motivated by my employer wanting to cut down on having to pay sick time when an airborne illness levels their office staff. That made me bitter, resentful and disappointed so I decided it was time to blog about it. Actually, the moment I saw an office handout titled ‘STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS,’ I knew I’d miraculously found material to write about just when my internal well of inspiration appeared to have run dry.
It’s really a very helpful document and I doubt I will ever become ill again if I follow the simple steps that are outlined within it. I knew about washing my hands before eating and after using the ‘restroom’ (which is usually anything but restful by the way). I didn’t realize however that I should also wash my hands when I am around someone who looks dirty. Who would have thought of that? Heck, that just saved three sick days right there!
Until yesterday’s memo, I thought I knew how to wash my hands. You put your hands together, lather, rinse, repeat, dry, buff, shine, smile, etc. Apparently, for all the years I’ve been alive, I have been neglecting the most important issue: washing time. Because my company cares so much about me, I can now tell you how long you should wash your hands. It’s a concrete method that’s sure to keep you clean without that annoying and ugly pruning of your fingers. Since it supposedly takes 20 seconds for soap and scrubbing to dislodge and remove stubborn germs (and yes, I am quoting verbatim), sing “Happy Birthday” all the way through twice while washing. As you are finishing the last few bars of the song, you can do so in quiet confidence that you are the proud owner of the cleanest hands in the universe! And no, I am not quoting that last sentence verbatim; it’s just how I feel now after washing my hands to the birthday song. Here’s a tip though: hum quietly rather than sing. I don’t know what it’s like in the woman’s restroom where you wash up, but in the men’s room, I’m getting some pretty funny looks singing “Happy Birthday to You” while washing my hands. I can tell you that I switched the song to “Free Bird” and I didn’t get as many looks. In fact, a couple of the guys joined in. For the fun of it, I tried singing Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and I was asked to leave.
Our company also suggests using a paper towel to turn off the faucet, but the joke’s on them. What they didn’t think of is that you are not using a paper towel to get a paper towel to turn off the faucet, so you have to wash your hands again and could end up in an endless paper towel/hand washing cycle for the rest of your life! Perhaps the wisest nugget of all though was that if I don’t have tissues to blow my nose on or to cover my mouth and nose with when I sneeze or cough, I should use my upper sleeve. It makes me look at rubbing elbows with upper management in a whole new light! I wonder if accounting will approve the increased amounts of my expense reports for all the dry cleaning of upper sleeves that will start to appear.
I don’t know who they are paying in my company to develop this stuff, but it has got to be the best job here (and possibly greatest squandering of payroll too). Hopefully this is just the first in a series of helpful safety bulletins. I would like to see them cover safe telephone use (like how to avoid accidentally dragging half the items off your desk with the phone cord or cleaning the mouthpiece at least once a year) and proper phone etiquette (especially how to use the mute, drop and transfer features). Also, they should initiate a mouse euthanasia program (oh sorry, I left out the word computer, as in computer mouse euthanasia). Computer keyboards and computer mice have to be the dirtiest and biggest germ spreading devices I have ever seen. Especially when you’ve got temps coming in and out working in different offices every day. I fear temps are germs’ equivalent of communist spies, but that’s a different health story.
I just feel warm all over knowing that my employer cares so much about me to pay people to develop these safety guides, pay for the printing of the documents and using company time to have a staff meeting to address these issues. Or maybe I feel warm all over because I only sang one verse of ‘Happy Birthday’ while washing my hands before going to lunch today and am now coming down with the Bird Flu. Please don’t tell my caring employer (who of course won’t be so caring if they ever read any of this). Cough, cough…