Wash Your Hands Frequently. Also, don’t forget to breathe.


GOOD HYGIENE

(Sort of) Good Hygiene

I saw this sign over the weekend in the restroom of a retail store. It was beside the standard “employees must wash hands before returning to work” sign.  This was just a print out, placed in a 3-ring binder type page protector, then taped to the wall.  I don’t mean to poke fun at the store, or the person who placed the sign on the wall… but I do see a few problems with this sign, and similar signs in general.  (OK, maybe I do mean to poke fun – you can read an old rant on public restrooms here.)

My first issue with this specific sign was step #3.  For you the reader to appreciate this, I should have perhaps taken a few more photos of my surroundings.  The knobs on the sink were the little kind.  One would have to be quite flexible and creative to turn them off with their arms.  Also, this restroom lacked paper towels.  There was a hand dryer on the wall though.  I could have used some toilet paper to turn off the faucet, but have you ever gotten TP wet?  And, if I waited until my hands were dried by the air dryer… I would have wasted a large amount of water.  I can see that someone took the time to print & post the sign carefully.  Perhaps they could have altered the steps to ones that pertain to their setup?

I guess that’s my only big issue with this sign, other than other sings have told me 30 seconds, or even to sing a song in my head, like “Old McDonald” or “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”… but I’m sure hand-washing time is a subject of hot debate in the hand-washing and general good hygiene sign community.

I wonder what frequently means?  I would think that if one needed hand-washing explained, and they could read the word frequently… one may wonder exactly how often one should wash.  One may think a few times a day is frequent.  One may think that since you’re in the bathroom, it’s talking about your time within.  Should you wash your hands 2 or 3 times for each restroom trip?  I would bet that clarification is definitely needed for the people that need these signs.  I find myself confused, and I already know how to wash my hands.  (Also, I’m sure that some medical professionals would remind you that frequent hand-washing is a sign of OCD.)

I wonder who needs these sings, and at the same time… why there aren’t more of them, educating the uninformed masses of more good hygiene policies.  There could certainly be a bunch more in public restrooms like “don’t pee on the seat”, “no boogers on the wall please”, & “proper nest-building for public toilets”.

I almost want to make a “how to wipe your behind” sign to hang up as a joke to post in restrooms around the area… but sadly I fear that we may see them for real some day.  Maybe they do already exist somewhere.  I would definitely include a “flush at [X] number of sheets per [X] ounces of fecal matter, to prevent clogging” line.

Perhaps a sign above the trash can that says “please do not place soiled underwear in trash can” would also be in good order.  Seems I know quite a few people who have worked places with public restrooms where this sort of thing has apparently happened.  Maybe in with this, signs warning against urinating or defecating in the sink would be appropriate.  This, I have unfortunately seen with my own eyes at the O.  Many many years ago, I was trapped by a hopefully drunk street-urchin looking fellow once who tried to share my urinal… when I balked, he relieved himself in the sink which was unfortunately on my way out the door.  That time, I skipped washing my hands.  Perhaps a footnote is in order on the hand-washing sign.  “*If you have just witnessed someone urinating in the sink, you may skip hand-washing.”  I’m betting the same people that need hand-washing reminders/instructions would also need to be told not to touch others’ urine.

So, I now task you the reader with helping me think of other signs that may need to be hung up in public restrooms and beyond.  What do people need told?  What obvious things maybe aren’t so obvious to all of us need to be publicly addressed?

What about “Please don’t eat the food on the floor by the trash can” at your favorite fast food restaurant? What about “how to pick up dog poop” instructions at the park, right by the useless “No Dogs In Park” signs?  What about some signs on buggies (shopping carts to you non-Yinzers) that say “We have cart returns, please put this in one when you’re done, not pushed to a random nearby corner”?

If you’re super-creative, send me a sign and I’ll post it.  You can either link to the url or image wherever it lives using html in the comments, or email it to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com.

Please, wash your hands before emailing me though.

POOR DANK SIGN / DANG PRISON OK


I love wordplay, anagrams, and word origins.  Sometimes, I imagine to myself that the subject of this post must be how some people see this sign:

NO DOGS IN PARK

NO DOGS IN PARK

At least, that’s maybe what I hope… that they have some learning disability, a reading comprehension problem, are from a foreign country, or are just flat-out illiterate.  I’d rather believe any excuse over the probable truth;  They just don’t care.

Before we get the animal lovers all riled up… I’d like to make it clear that I’m not arguing against dogs being allowed in the park.  In fact, I think the paths in the park are a perfect place to walk your dog, and that animal lovers everywhere ought to band together to get this rule appealed.

Barring your (and my) personal opinion though, the rule still stands that our canine friends are prohibited from the park.  I mean, that sign is pretty clear.  There’s not really any way to misunderstand the message put forth, and there are plenty of them all around the park.  (If you need to actually see it in writing from an authority, I have done you the favor of finding the Dormont Borough Code online, and you can see in Article I of Chapter 75  [The Animal Code] § 75-2, that animals are prohibited in the park areas.)

I’m not suggesting that the Dormont police patrol the park to hand out pointless citations, as they most certainly have better things to do with their time.

I mean, I get that we were brought up with Fred Rogers telling us all that we’re special and different.  Somehow that may have translated to the belief that rules that you don’t like simply don’t apply to you.  I also get that to a certain extent.  I mean, it’s got to be some kind of inherent human nature to question authority.  When you’re told do do something, you recoil a little bit with an internal “excuse me?” At least, I do.  The reaction is stronger and longer if it’s something that you don’t want to do or something that you don’t agree with.  Perhaps I have just listened to too much anarchy-themed punk rock over the years.

How this translates to the “laws don’t apply to me” mentality, I just don’t get it.  This is just another take on my shopping cart rant, I guess.  The main difference being that that only applied to general guidelines of polite  and decent behavior, and this applies to an actual law… however trivial that law may be.

I’m not saying I’m better than you, or that I never break any laws.  I had a problem a long time ago with collecting speeding tickets, and barring my recent Illinois interstate relapse, it’s common knowledge among my friends and family that I pretty much drive like someone’s grandma these days.  We generally all go faster than 25 MPH in 25 MPH zones (unless we’re on a school campus, busy city intersection, or in front of a police station).  Living in Pennsylvania, I remember the collective sigh of state-wide relief when the speed limit was raised from 55 MPH to 65 MPH.  People didn’t like the law, so they wrote, campaigned, and things were changed.

Perhaps it’s a risk thing?  If I’m speeding, I’m generally thinking the probability of being caught is low… so it’s rationalized as OK with me somehow.  If you bring your dog to the park, are you thinking that there’s never really a police presence in the park, and no one’s going to turn you in so you’re safe?

Is it the classic “well, other people are doing it”?  I can see this one working in someone’s head too.  My wife & I walk in the park probably 5 days out of the week most weeks.  On any given day, we see at least one dog in the park, sometimes as many as 5 or so at a time.  If I were a dog owner in an urban area with access to a beautiful nearby park where other people are walking their dogs, I’m sure I’d bring my dog out too.  Rationale being that all the other dogs are out, so it must be OK.

In fact, not to long ago, we helped a lady corral her unleashed little beagle mix.  He was clearly not ready to go home, and she was in no condition to run after her dog.  Standing and yelling “come here, Casey!” apparently doesn’t work all that well with small excitable furry friends.  He was quite eager to romp over to us ready for more play.  Unfortunately his unconditional offer of puppy playtime was betrayed by us turning him over to his owner.

When I started out, this was going to be another “what’s wrong with you people”* blog with a “what is wrong with a society that stops paying attention to the little rules” tone.  I think the latter has taken precedent, with myself included.

I have just realized that I too would probably be an ass that ignores the sign, and brings my dog to the park until I got that 1st citation.

This leaves me still with the questions of what makes one think that the rules don’t apply to them?  Is it a belief of being “above” the rules?  No fear of penalty?  The thought that if the next person is doing it, it’s OK for you?  The general disagreement with the rule in the first place?  Lack of a presented penalty?  (ie., if the sign also said “$300 fine for violations,” would it deter you?) Is it an aggregate of all the smaller rationalizations?

We’re (arguably) a country founded on breaking the rules… but have we gotten to a point where fighting for a rule change is beneath us, or are we just too lazy to change it?

I’m guessing the NO DOGS IN PARK rule is in place mainly because people don’t pick up the pooch poop once it’s dropped, closely followed by a certain amount of fear of the angry biting dog.  This rule was probably enacted because people weren’t controlling their animals in the first place out of laziness or an “I’m better than you” attitude.  Wow.  It’s just a vicious circle, isn’t it?

As someone who suffers from a severe food allergy, and only somewhat irrational fear of all things shellfish… I can imagine that someone coming to the park with a dog allergy and/or a fear of dogs might have a heightened sense of anger and betrayal at the appearance of a giant hairy dog walking right by the “NO DOGS IN PARK” sign.

Perhaps people ought to get together to create pet-friendly and pet-free sections of the park?  Perhaps the rule could be changed to “pets only on leashes & pickup poop or it’s a $___ fine” rule?

I guess I’d just like to hear everyone’s thoughts on rules like this.

  • Do you think the law is a good one?
  • What is your opinion of those who violate the law?
  • Why do you think they have no problem ignoring the posted signs?
  • What do you think of the lack of the local authorities’ enforcement of the law?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts…

(*Note: Comma omitted per the advice of my grammatical advisory panel, Dave and Kristin!)