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Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014
The flu ...Posted Friday, May 8, 2009, at 8:00 AM
If I had bought stock in soap a month ago, I'd be a wealthy man today!
This recent flu that has been in the media spotlight has produced some interesting and unexpected side effects. For instance, I couldn't find hand sanitizer anywhere! For about a week every restaurant I supported had immediate seating. I even replaced the way the church does the greetings (handshakes and hugs) with "the bump". But the most unexpected effect has been in the men's room.
Guys are notorious for never washing our hands. Up to a month ago I would usually be the only one spending half a minute washing my hands at the lavatory. I'd watch as a steady line of men exited without even so much as a wave of the hands towards the sink.
Not so during the last two weeks! Most public men's rooms ran out of soap! There would be a line of four, five, even seven men waiting to wash their hands before eating their meal. And afterwards those same men could be accused of having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disease) after making their "pit stops."
I think two things happened. I think we all became scared of those things like illness that can suddenly take our lives. And, I think we became educated about the things we CAN do in our helplessness.
I'm the usual man. Give me a task to do and I'll work hard to accomplish it. Give me a goal to meet and you've no worry that I'll reach it. Suddenly, guys were being told that there was something, SOMETHING we can do to "defeat" the possibility of getting sick with this flu. As the media reports spread regarding the deaths in Mexico it became our patriotic duty to fight the enemy at home! Uncle Sam needed us ... to be clean!
I can not report what happened in women's public restrooms but my fantasy is that not much changed during this recent flu scare. Women are health conscious, dedicated to keeping themselves and their families clean, and always look ready to meet any challenge that comes their way. Please don't destroy my stereotype!
It's the men I've seen change in the last month. Media reports are now "dying out" regarding this world-wide flu crisis. Indeed, except for Mexico, it appears there has been little loss of life (at least so far, and may that continue!) from this contagion. I'm wondering if this recent change in men's hygiene will be permanent. I'm sure the Dial, Dove, and Irish Spring type companies have made great profit from these days. Perhaps it would be in their best interest if our public awareness of new virus infections continues to be in the media spotlight.
And maybe I'll continue to see good hygiene habits! When we get scared "enough" we change. Less than twenty percent of Americans now smoke. Most of us have removed our investments away from high-risk stocks. AIDS continues to be in the back of our minds. And maybe this flu scare has done for men's hygiene habits what mothers everywhere failed to accomplish.
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.