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.