A friendly reminder from Johnny Virgil

So this sign went up in the men's room a while ago:

I've been wanting to post about it, but I was a little hesitant about just walking into the bathroom with my camera and snapping random pictures. Luckily for you all, I finally found an opportunity since almost everyone in the Northeast was working from home for the last day or so.

Now, there are several things here worth mentioning, the first of which is the improbability that someone would actually need directions on how to wash their hands.

Secondly, the people who generally DO wash their hands are pretty good at it. It's the people who don't wash their hands who are at issue here. Maybe it's just me, but I figure that if you are in too much of a hurry to wash, you are definitely not going to read this 300 word missive on handwashing technique. I think a giant sign that says "WASH YOUR EFFING HANDS, YOU SLOB!" would probably work better on the non-handwashing folks, who, let's face it, are the ones that concern us all.

Assuming that someone actually does stop to read the sign, I'm thinking that some of this is pretty obvious.

Let's take a look.

Bullet one -- wet hands with clean, warm, running water and apply soap. Let me ask you this: Where would you actually get dirty, cold, non-running water? There is only one obvious answer to this question, and if you're dipping your hands in there it better be because you just kerplunked your pager or cell phone. Even then, you're probably better off just flushing it and cutting your losses.

Bullet two -- rub hands together to make a lather. You know what? Just the other day, I walked in on a guy with soap goo all over his hands, just standing there dripping goo all over the floor. You wouldn't believe how thankful he was when I told him to rub his hands together. He told me that for his entire life he had never gotten any lather and could never figure out why.

Bullet three -- wash all hand surfaces for 20 seconds. (Imagine singing 'Happy Birthday' to a friend twice.) Two things here. First, I wasn't sure if these two statements were connected at all. Should I count to twenty as I wash, and then imagine myself standing in front of a cake, wearing a pointy hat, and singing the happy birthday song? Twice? Or was I supposed to do these two things simulataneously?

Eventually, because I am a smarty pants, I determined that they intended the length of the birthday song to be a suggested timetable for washing "the hand surfaces." So in order to keep you from counting out loud like some sort of OCD freak, they felt compelled to give you a song idea instead. Unfortunately, they have to pick a song that everyone knows, because telling people to sing the first 20 seconds of the new tune by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus probably wouldn't have cut it. So they tell you to sing Happy Birthday to a friend. Preferably one who was born on this day, the day of the hand washing. Since I find that song a little boring to wash to, I wrote my own somewhat more topical version. Feel free to sing along with me:

Happy birthday to you,
I may have touched poo,
I'm counting the seconds,

'til I shake hands with you!

Bullets 4 and 5 -- Rinse well under running water and dry using an air dryer or paper towel. I am assuming here that again they are trying to dissuade you from rinsing in the toilet bowl, or deciding against not rinsing and drying at all. This one sort of took me by surprise because I routinely just leave the men's room with my hands all lathered up and foamy. After reading this sign, I can say this: From now on I will rinse them well --not in the toilet-- and dry them. Don't judge me. I just didn't know.

Bullet six is just a complete admission of defeat by management and building maintenance. In effect, they are saying, "If you touch anything in this bacterial breeding ground with your bare hands, you are completely insane and deserve whatever festering pestilence you end up with. And for god's sake, please tell me you flushed with your foot."

Personally, based on the amount of absolutely non-necessary ass-stank I am forced to deal with on a regular basis, I think they need one on the inside of the stall door that has a picture of a butt crack on it and a bulleted series of wiping instructions.

Keep 'em Clean, people. And somebody, do me a favor and bring back the "fist bump" greeting so I don't have to shake hands anymore.


  1. Now when I go wash my hands in a few minutes, I will be singing your song. Thank you very much.

    We have a sign in the ladies bathroom here asking us to treat the restroom like we would at home. They then have a list of things we should do if we make or notice a mess. Everytime I go to the bathroom, I read it. I've never been brave enough to take a picture, though.

  2. The Happy Birthday song is copyrighted! I hope, for your sake, that you've got written consent before imagining a performance of that little ditty, or else you can expect to find yourself clapped with a lawsuit. "But I was just trying to clean my hands" you'll say. "You should have used a Public Domain song you reckless bastard!" says the judge.

    Honestly, they're asking for trouble.

    - Scott

  3. Furthermore, who the hell but Bruce Willis in Hudson Hawk measures time in songs? WHO I SAY?!

  4. I used to measure time with songs. Now I just think about baseball.

  5. I'm going to go walk past the rest room doors right now and see if there's a chorus of Happy Birthday going on. If not - I'm calling building management. Hmph.

    *fist bump thingy*

  6. So one time as a young marine I am in the mens room in a bus depot standing at the urinal and this soldier walks in and stands next to me and takes a piss. I get done, zip and start to walk out and the soldier says to me, "In the Army we are taught to wash our hands after we go to the bathroom."
    I turned to him and said, "In the Marine Corps we are taught not to piss on our hands."

  7. *bows before the master*

    Well played sir. You took that bit someplace wonderful.

    ...Damn it, should have thought of it myself...

    - Scott

  8. "I used to measure time with songs. Now I just think about baseball. "

    Whatever you do, don't be humming "Take me out to the ballgame". You'll be dragged into a stall and you won't reappear until the 9th inning.

  9. Upstate Broad8:43 PM

    Given some of the comments you've made about the disgusting state in the Men's room on your floor, have you ever wondered if they guys who don't wash their hands simply consider it less hygienic to spend any additional time in there?

  10. #1:
    women who put their purse down on the bathroom floor grossssssss me out.

    for a while in the ladies room there was a garbage can right by the door that was labeled "dirty rags" and it took me a long time to realize it was for paper towels (ie, people who want to open the main bathroom door with a paper towel)
    Um, isn't the dirtiest part of the bathroom the handle on the stall door??? :::shudder:::

  11. upstate broad, many times I've considered the fact that my junk is the cleanest thing in the room, so you have a definite point.

  12. I saw that same sign this week and remember thinking that there are some paranoid lawyers/executive(s) out there that really feel the need to cover their asses by posting these signs in restrooms across the country.

    I giggled to myself knowing it was a wasted effort, and felt glad to be a peon...for once.

  13. with regard to this line in your post "Personally, based on the amount of absolutely non-necessary ass-stank I am forced to deal with on a regular basis" Which ass-stank is necessary?

  14. Love the song J.V. If you feel like a challenge maybe you could try and come up with a potty hiku.

    This site is bad ass 5
    I come here to LOL 7
    Thank You Johnny V. 5

  15. I had some gut rot
    I have just gone number 2
    lather, rinse, repeat

    forget the song... I'd settle for people to just remember to wash.

  16. Yeah you have to be cautious when you take pictures in the bathroom. Not too long ago I snagged a shot of some funny bathroom graffiti.

  17. Jennifer1:27 PM

    Carly- The dirtiest part of the bathroom is the sink handle, hence the paper towel to turn off the water and new ones to dry hands & open the door (second dirtiest surface is the door handle). However, I read recently that the number pad and door handle on the microwave is the dirtiest surface in an office. I use a paper towel-covered finger to punch the buttons. It doesn't bear thinking about the fact that the person who used the microwave before you was an NW (No-washer). How many people wash there hands AFTER they use the microwave and BEFORE they use said hands to put food in their mouths??? YUCK! Not to mention the community food trays or candy bowls…{shudder}! Ugh…I need to go find some Lysol….

    JV- A good way to get someone to start washing their hands is to refuse to take something from them when they try to hand it to you: files, pens, papers, etc. If they look at you like you are crazy just tell them you know where their hands have been and you want none of it! >:)

  18. Now if only there were a poster with bullet points advising the clueless how to either wipe or wash their ass.

  19. Anonymous8:57 PM

    what exactly is the dirtiest part of the bathroom. you go in the stall, touch poo, whatever, but afterwards, you HAVE to put your pants back on and exit the stall! so doesn't that mean your pants/buckle/zipper is the dirtiest part of it all??

  20. Anonymous1:08 PM

    Wait, wait, wait. Flush with your foot? Use a paper towel to turn off the sink and open the door? So I'm not alone in my fruitless efforts to avoid bacteria? Phew. For a second there, I thought I was a germophobe.