Thursday, July 15, 2010

Master of My Fragility

Self doubt. Are any of us immune to this? I’ve begun to notice that not only are we notorious for questioning our own decisions…(let’s face it, everyone does it once in a while) but it’s becoming obvious to me that there are people who prey on our lack of self-confidence and offer their own little subliminal digs as well.

Whether it’s the off-hand remark of, “Wow…what made you decide to wear that dress with those shoes?”, to the casual, under-enthusiastic, “It’s…nice” when you finally unveil the end result of a long term redo of your dining room, it can be difficult to filter out the words the person has chosen not to say…for sometimes, those imaginary, unspoken words seem to come through the loudest.

Advertisers are no dummies when it comes to using this tactic to their greatest benefit. The other day, I saw an ad for a new liquid soap dispenser:

Their slogan? “Never touch a germy soap pump again!” I’m sure there are germ-o-phobes who will sleep well for the first time in a long time knowing this product is finally available for home use.

But.

…And correct me if I’m wrong here….but don’t you touch the top of a soap pump before you wash your hands…and then remove the killer-germs during the washing process? Does anyone touch the top of the soap dispenser pump after they’ve washed their hands…say, just for kicks?


I’ve noticed that there are several shows on teevee about OCD.

I know this how, you ask?

I’m so glad you asked. I’ve noticed this because whilst bedridden with my achy-breaky sciatica, I spent a lot of time surfing the ONDEMAND channel on my cable.

I saw shows entitled:

  • OBSESSED
  • OBSESSIVE
  • OCD
  • …and ODC (People with Dyslexia who also have OCD)

Okay, so maybe I made that last one up…but still. And with perils everywhere, like Swine Flu…and haphazardly dropped bird poop, one never knows when one will be hit with slimy, stenchy germs that we may inadvertently touch.

But seriously…are we going to put the bar soap industry out of business? I mean, it’s not exactly the neatest way to clean one’s hands…especially if you have kids:


Is there even the slightest possibility that this new outcropping of reality shows are gonna create even more people with extreme-germ-diversions than we had before?

I know what you’re thinking. “Okaaaay. Kathryn, where are you going with all this? ‘Cause, ya know…I’m uber-busy and there’s a Snickers in the bottom drawer of my desk with my name written all over it and I do have a life, ya know…so….hel-lo??”

It’s coming. God, you people are so freakin’ impatient. Here’s a crazy thought: Why don’t you eat the Snickers WHILE you’re reading?? Better? You’re welcome.

They also have disposable hand towels now for home use. Not paper towels, mind you…but hand towels:


The animated ad on their site shows the towel bar above split in half…with a cotton towel on the left, which states: “One hand towel used multiple times”…and a Kleenex hand towel on the right side with the proclamation: “A single towel used just once.”

Huh.

So now, I’m supposed to get rid of all my cotton hand towels for the bath. And this would mean removing the ones in my kitchen as well? Or are paper towels still acceptable in this venue?

Oh and the best part of all? There’s a song to go along with the Kleenex hand towels! I was thoughtful enough to download it for you, and I printed the words below the MP3 player, so we call can have a sing along! I’m sorry there’s no bouncing ball for each word…I couldn’t quite master downloading that part.




You don’t have to thank me. Hearing your melodic voices off in the distance as you sing along….or your un-printable curse words ringing in my years as you flip me off…is thanks enough.

Either way…happy washing!

Sir Thomas said...

Well thanks!!!!

with smiles.....

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I've been washing my hands more than usual lately...don't know why, but its never bothered me not having dispensable hand towels at my disposal. Its not like the Kleenex commercial where the kid's wrestling to get the towel out of the dog's mouth. That would be gross.

I think the ingenious one is the (probably really expensive) sink that is touch activated so when your hands are covered with who knows what, you can just bang into it with your wrist and voila! Water.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Ummm...I'd sing but I would scare away many of your readers. Nice, think of all of those disposible hand towels in the landfills. I pine for a simpler days of towels. Use 'em till they get stinky, wash 'em and use 'em again. I can only imagine what Jerry Seinfeld would have to say about those disposible towels...

j.m. neeb said...

Maybe we're just safest not washing hands at all???

Seriously, though, I've survived a lot of years on this planet... all without the need for disposable towels. And I'm quite sure I'll survive many more by using regular towels or paper towels or pant legs or the dog to dry my hands.

Now watch as I get hit by a bus or assassinated or eaten by a hungry kitten -- hey, it happens (I assume...) -- all because I didn't use a disposable towel.

Tinkerschnitzel said...

I'll stick to my regular pump soap and cotton hand towels, thank you. Makes you think they're just reinventing stuff so they can get more of your money.

Straight Guy said...

You can't catch anything from blog friends. A blessing and a curse...

ValleyWriter said...

First - I have to confess that I first read the title as "Master of my Fertility" and I had no idea what kind of ride we were in for. Especially once I saw soap. :-P

Second - I work for a company that capitalizes on all this stuff (we do health promotion crud). A lot of it is silly... but during the swine flu craze, we made a pretty penny. So.... I'm not complainin' too much. Bring on the handwashing songs!

Carol said...

First the kids unroll all the toilet paper, then they clean up dog doo with paper towels and flush is down the toilet. Now they can just pull out all the hand towels and flush away! At least their hands will be germ free until they touch to door knob on the way out!

Gigi said...

The first few sentences about self-doubt, etc. I was getting kinda spooked - because that has been on my mind and I've read like 10 (okay, maybe 3) blogs on this subject today alone!

The whole germ thing has gone to an extreme. Do you realize just how hard it is to even find soap that ISN'T anti-bacterial anymore?? I am of the theory that some germs won't kill you - you can over-sanitize yourself.

TC said...

Is that soap dish in your house? I don't feel so bad if it is. Although we only have two seemingly adult people here and ours sometimes looks like that.
I don't get the ocd and the germs, my dad always said a few germs would make you healthier, and this from a man whom I remember scrubbing a kitchen floor, yes SCRUBBING The floor, my mother worked, he did too but somehow she conned him into doing it.
Anyway I have OCD but it's more like I can't leave things running, have to check the coffee pot even though it turns itself off, what if something is burning and the DOG is in the house, what if the dishwasher doesn't turn off...you get the picture, I'm better than I was btw, I can leave appliances on and KNOW they will turn off, sometimes....the kitchen table being clean is another matter entirely....

Lauren said...

Thank God! I've been looking for a song that's exactly two clean hands long. You have no idea how hard that is to find. I guess I can focus on not biting my nails when I stress now! Oh the possibilities you've opened up for me!

Alicia said...

I always heard you're supposed to recite the alphabet slowly while you wash your hands because that's exactly how long you have to keep washing before the germs give up and go down the drain!

Leave it to you Kathryn to find the humor in the Kleenex towels! I think though that I can remember the alphabet better than learning that song!

BlackLOG said...

When I went cycling in India I used one of those hand gels and used it every time we stopped for food /drink. It worked really well not one bout of Deli Belly....Until one time I was washing my hands our tour guide decided I needed to be hand fed. Not wanting to be rude I didn't spit it out all over him (I should have) You guessed it, the next day I hardly managed to make is passed a tree with out having to dismount and make a dash for it. It would not have been that bad but we happened to be riding through a forest on that day....

reberto.alberto said...

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We do think that you too might have a marvelous story to tell, one that is your own! So if you can compose it in not more than few words, we would want to hear from you. Also, you stand a chance to get your story published on our site and win cash prize of USD 100.

“Then what are you waiting for? …put on your thinking cap and get writing. For registration and other information check - http://bit.ly/d4c3Bz

Happy writing!

Runnergirl said...

Doesn't the environmental issue come into this as well? Is it better for the environment to wash cotton towels and not chop down trees and create waste?

Anyway, we need germs, without them we wouldn't build up an immune system! I can't say that I've ever caught a bug off our hand soap pump!

Daily Panic said...

Why don't we all go back to wearing beautiful hand gloves??? Why did that trend die? I could have about a dozen white pair and then one of every color and just throw them in the wash with my regular clothes. Kids today do not know what dirty is!! Give me regular dirt everyday over what the heck kids get on those video game controls- snot - pizza roll sauce, cola, and who knows what their buddies bring in.

I'm all for hand washing, but I'm with you, people - have some common sense about marketing- DO YOU REALLY NEED IT???

It's a wonder I've lived 40 yrs without this product... I repeat - I'VE LIVED!!!

sage said...

For some reason, your blog would accept my comment last night and it was a good one, but now I've washed my hands of it and don't remember

Lily Johnson said...

Oh please, these people should just make products that solve PROBLEMS and not complicate life more for us. Just wash your hands and use the paper towel as usual and you will be okay. Jeez!!

Missed Periods said...

I would secretly love the Kleenex hand towels instead of cloth towels, much like I love to use paper towels to clean instead of sponges or cloth towels, but it's so wasteful- I don't think I could do it.

Collette said...

I have to agree with Runnergirl. Too much extra waste! And, God made dirt & dirt won't hurt! All these anti-bacterial things are why so many kids have all these allergies nowadays. When we were young, we shared straws and drank from the garden hose. We are still living! (((HUGS)))

Lynn said...

I saw an ad for these the other day, and my eyes inadvertently rolled to the ceiling. Honestly, I couldn't help myself.

Mark Price said...

Hi Kathryn! just a note to say hello!

Fierce said...

Look, I do not feel safe until I've sung a song that's two clean hands long (okay really Kleenex should employ me to write these jingles because I'm on a roll!)

You're totally right though; who touches the soap pump AFTER washing their hands?! Wouldn't that mean that you were trying to pump more soap out of said soap pump? Meaning that you meant to continue the hand washing process and not just walk away, all soapy-handed? Screw disposables, where're my damn cotton towels?

:)
xoxo

Tia said...

The thought of all that waste makes my enviro-heart want to weep. Of course, I also study microbiology and LOVE LOVE LOVE looking at all those germs under a microscope. Debating the pros & cons of germs with my germaphobic brother in law is a great day for me as well. And...wait. I got off topic. What was the topic?

Great post as always!

Heather said...

I do believe that the newer products are turning people into germaphobs. I lived through hand towels and scummy soap and never died or got sick.

Some germs are actually good for you, they help to build your immune system.

I do feel sorry for the future generations that wont know what it was like to grow up in a germmy world. LOL!

kathryn said...

Sir Thomas: Well, you're welcome sir! (Smiles back)

Oddyoddyo13: Yeah...I like that movement-activated sink as well. Especially when in public restrooms, where it REALLY makes sense. I think I can handle wiping down the handles of my faucet at home...for now. The rest? I think they're preying on current events, people who are concerned with germs, etc. As it is, I also wash more than ever...and use those wipes in the car religiously.

Alan W. Davidson: Well, now that you've mentioned Jerry and the disposable towels, I'm sure it'll come up in the future. I don't pine for the simpler days of towels, 'cause I'm living them. Till they prove they're a detriment to my health, I'm sticking with 'em.

kathryn said...

j.m. neeb: Hey, I'm with you. I have this annoying habit of washing all the hanging towels in the house in one quick early morning load. USUALLY, I can get 'em back on the rod before anyone even notices but I often hear the grumblings and see the telltale drips of water as someone runs down the hall...looking fruitlessly for a hanging towel. (Yeah, yeah...there's plenty in the linen closet. But do they look there?)

Tinkerschnitzel: I believe every single word of this comment and plan on doing exactly the same thing. Great minds, honey....great minds.

Straight Guy: The blessing part I get. But, the curse? What would you like to catch from a blogbud, SG? You've peaked my interest.

kathryn said...

ValleyWriter: Ha! And here, I worried some would read it as "Master of my Frigidity"! Well, there's good health promotion crud and then there's the bad kind. It just seems like lately I'm seeing an awful lot of stuff that could make even the most environmentally-comfortable diehard begin to question...well, everything!

Carol: Ha! So very true! The only time I could see this premise being helpful would be in public places...and maybe at someone's party at their home. THEN it makes sense. Otherwise...God, what a waste!

Gigi: I know! It kind of goes back to the theory that the germs aren't in the dirt outside...they're in the kid who just licked your kid's bike handle! As far as the self-doubt thing goes, it's rampant with writers, don't you think?

kathryn said...

TC: Yes. That's the soap dish in da boys' bath. I won't let Taylor (18) use our liquid soap anymore because he was going through (I'm not kidding here) a pump bottle every other day.
His hands are BIG but give me a break! It's a fine line sometimes, I think, between OCD and just needing things a certain way because it's just the way we like it. I can't go to bed with dishes in the sink and the coffeemaker prepared. It's just (some) of my stuff.

Lauren: I'm so glad I was finally able to help with that darn "most songs are simply not two clean hands long" dilemma you've faced. I'm only sorry it took me so long to find it, sweets!

Alicia: How about we ditch both the alphabet AND the song and just wash our freakin' hands the old fashioned way!?!? And what's the other one? Sing Happy Birthday is how long to brush your teeth? Yikes.

snoble24 said...

yes they do make some stupid things

Wendy Blum said...

OMG!! Seriously, I have seen the ads for these towels. Um, in this economy, why would I choose to spend more on these Kleenex brand towels just cause they are in a dispenser?? Paper towels have ALWAYS come with their own dispenser for YEARS. And they are used only one time for drying hands. Paying for cheap paper towels on my beer budget is the way I roll. Pun intended ;) And I agree with you about the pump soap. There isn't anyone I know who pumps soap to wash their hands AFTER they have already washed up. Unless of course they have OCD. Then they may wash repeated times over... There are no germaphobes in my house.
My youngest son and I do sing a song when he's washing his hands. Allow me to share since you were kind enough to share the Kleenex song with us :)
Tops and bottoms
Tops and bottoms
In between
In between
Rub them both together
Rub them both together
Now they're clean
Now they're clean
I think it's sung to the tune of Where is Thumbkin?
It gets the job done and he likes washing his hands.
I think all of these germ related products are being used to cause unnecessary fear in people. If we aren't exposed to germs then when we do get sick from something, our bodies won't know how to automatically defend itself.
Not that we shouldn't go to the doctor for certain illnesses.

kathryn said...

BlackLOG: Oh, God. And you'd made it so far! Who makes the decision to hand-feed a tourist?? I don't suppose you had the same tour guide the next day so he could see his lovely handiwork, eh? I would have had a few choice words for him!

reberto.alberto: Huh. Thanks....

Runnergirl: I'm with you, sweets. It'll be interesting to see if they actually become popular...with so much going green, it seems hard to believe it'll be a huge hit.

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