Sanitization or Stupidization?

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Butler, your post “On Sanitizing America” was very timely. The sterilization machinations are everywhere.

You mentioned the sanitizer station at the grocery store. Well, most corporate environments have them, too. Where I work, there is a sanitization station (that’s a nice jingle, eh?) at every elevator bank on every floor — all 23 floors! I snicker as I watch people walk by and ‘sanitize’ like a bunch of trained monkeys.

Most grocery stores and produce markets, etc., have the ‘cart sanitizer stations’ set up next to where the push carts are kept. That is so you can clean and sanitize your cart handle before you set your hands upon it. Also, government buildings — courthouses, county buildings, etc. — have them everywhere, as well. Another thing is that everyone — like Bath & Body Works — sells those mini-sanitizers that are perfect for the obsessive-compulsive neurotic’s purse, so she can sanitize all day long, everywhere she goes. Another fad is to carry these mini devices to the restaurant, and pass it around like breath mints. At my monthly staff lunches, the hand sanitizer is always passed around the table immediately after we sit down — and when I wave my hand and say, “No thanks,” I get inevitably get the “Why?” question. I say, “Because I don’t eat with my hands. I use the utensils they give me.” The representatives of the Idiocracy actually think I am the weird one for not sanitizing between each breath and every step.

Lastly, a funny story. A few months ago, I was at a VFW Hall with a friend of mine, because a friend of hers was in a classic rock bar band that was playing there that night. We were kinda out of place in this establishment, but …. our amusement for the night came from sitting near the hallway exit from the restrooms, and at the end of this hallway (at the opening of the sitting area) was a table. And on that table sat one of those huge-mega-gargantuan-size containers of hand sanitizer. It was about the size of my torso. The table with sanitizer was entirely in view of everyone in the bar, adding a touch of “peer pressure.” We noted, early on, that most people, upon exit from the restroom, used the sanitizer, while a few dissidents walked right by it without so much as a glance at this monstrous eyesore.

So our whole evening was centered on listening to the (excellent) band and making bets on every person who walked into the restroom — would they use the sanitizer or would they properly diss it as idiotic bunkum? The results are that about 80% of the Idiocracy felt compelled to use the sanitizer, while the rest walked by without even acknowledging its existence. When that happened we clapped loudly! Folks were staring us down the whole time.

Mark Sisson wrote up a “lite” criticism of hand sanitizers on Mark’s Daily Apple a few months ago. Mark linked to an ABC story that reported hand sanitizer sales being up 70% in 2009. From the ABC story:

Casey Beard is a self-proclaimed “germ freak” who uses hand sanitizer up to 40 times a day. He keeps bottles in his bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and car. He even went as far as purchasing hand sanitizer for colleagues at his office. While he’s always been wary of germs, reports of the H1N1 virus have made him even more diligent about hygiene.

Casey Beard is a hyperventilating, hysterical fool who is ripe for Big Government’s Idiocracy sign-up sheet. Butler, the rule of the Idiocracy is that you have to do what everyone else is doing just because they are doing it. To reject such an action because you actually thought about it and critically assessed it makes you an outcast and an eccentric. All hail the unapologetic nonconformists.

8:38 pm on July 7, 2010