Jun 19 2011


Published by at 11:11 pm under Lifestyle & Values

Greetings, Cool Peeps:

This week, I’m here to talk about germs. No, not the ones I have dated, but the kind that are ubiquitous and invisible. The kind that make us sick.

I’m not quite OCD crazy like Howie Mandel is, but some days, I come close. Like Howie, I do freak out when I see Jay Leno come out for his monologue and grab all of those hands of all of those people in his audience. Maybe Jay steams his hands clean during the commercial break; I don’t know.

I remember the first time I had a public freak-out about germs. I was in a department store, and I asked the saleswoman where the customer service office was.

“It’s on the third floor, but if you merely have a question about your account, Miss Hacker, save yourself some time by using our red courtesy phone. It’s right over there on the wall.”

I turned to look, saw a woman pick up the phone, sneeze, and then cough into the receiver. I just looked at the saleswoman. Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Let’s just call the saleswoman Oblivia de Havilland, because when she looked at me and said, “I’m sure she’ll only be a moment,” I was Gone With the Wind.

That was all it took. There was no freakin’ way I was ever using a courtesy phone again. Not in a store, not at an airport, not anywhere. I do carry disinfectant wipes with me, but just the image of that woman spewing forth microbes and mucus did me in—for life.

How many of you who use escalators actually touch the handrail? Not me. Do you know how microbe coated that thing is? Just a ride from Men’s Clothing to Housewares can give you the flu. Or worse. I would rather plunge head first down the stairway than intentionally self-infect by clutching a buggy banister.

What really kills me is using my credit card in stores. Every store that has one of these germ-spreading units for paying should have a bottle of hand sanitizer right next to it. Do you know how many germs touch the electronic pen and those buttons? While I applaud the grocery stores that offer wipes for grocery carts, I wonder why they go to all of that trouble only to let their customers become germ ridden at checkout.

Money is another filthy thing we all touch. I guess that we are so happy when we have money, that we don’t think about how many people have touched it and where it has been. New money is beautiful. It’s not worth more than used money, but it’s a lot cleaner.

If you want a demonstration of how quickly germs spread, or if you want to teach a classroom of children why hand washing is so important, you can buy one of those invisible powder kits that come with a black light. Trust me, seeing a demonstration of how germs spread is very motivating. It will also make everyone paranoid, crazy, and germophobic, but you’ll be all the healthier for it.

Shaking hands. Now, there’s a wicky sticket. Unlike Howie, I just can’t bring myself to fist bump in place of a shake. I want to, but it is awkward, at least for me, not to shake someone’s hand. When I go to places where I know I’m going to meet people, I try to wear something with pockets so I can stick my hand in afterward and clutch the disinfectant wipe I have hidden for the occasion.

Let’s face it, there are ways we can be more careful. But we have to live our lives. Kissing handsome men is a part of my life. Holding hands is a part of my life. There are some things I’m just not giving up.

How about you, cool peeps? Are you as germophobic as yours truly? Worse? Some days I get so paranoid I won’t even watch a viral video. ☺ Please, tell me your war stories.

See you next week!

Yours in pickiness,


25 responses so far

25 Responses to “GERMS, GERMS, GERMS!”

  1. James Morrisonon 19 Jun 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Hey Molly,

    Awesome Post as usual! I have to say I’m not much of a germaphobe, like I dont care around disinfectant wipes or anything, or even keep any of those hand sanitiser gel things on my desk at work. I do do my best to stop myself from spreading germs when I have a cold by not coughing or sneezing into my hands, but onto my shoulder which helps stop the spread of germs through shaking hands, or touching things through the course of the day.

    I do get angry when I see people coughing and sneezing without covering their mouth at all, you can actually see their germs being spread through the air, and that almost makes me vom.

    So yeah, I have kinda come to terms with the fact that germs are everywhere, and what doesn’t kill me can only make me stronger, so as long as I’m fairly healthy i’m happy 😛

    But if you do go on to lead a new germ free revolution please count me in Molly!

    *sterile high five*


  2. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 12:16 am

    Hey James:

    Great to hear from you. I see g/f Lisa is bummed that she didn’t make the first comment. ha ha. I will let you cool peeps from Oz fight it out.

    I loved your sterile high five! I’m telling you, James, once you see someone rudely spreading their germs, it stays with you. Once I was in a meeting with an important client and the dude was coughing like crazy and not excusing himself nor taking any pains to spare me. I was fuh-reaking out. If it had been almost anyone else, I would have been able to speak up.

    Well, that’s what blogs are for, right? You rock! Thanks so much for coming by. I love your company.

    Yours in pickiness,

  3. Lisaon 19 Jun 2011 at 11:44 pm

    First of all I’d just like to say…. I’m FIRST! nah nah nah nah 😀
    sorry 🙂

    I’m not one to be overly concerned about my environment but having said that, I do have a bottle of hand sanitizer near by and my son and I are a little addicted to using it. There is something comforting about it. I shall make sure I have it with me on the plane when we go on our holiday so our friend at the airport will be at ease that we are hopefully as germ free as we can possibly be 😀

    Another exceptional post Molly. I just learn so much from you every week. It’s the little things that I take in 🙂

    Thank you

  4. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 12:21 am

    Hey Lisa,

    Guess you’re not first this week, g/f, but you’re still at the top of this girl’s list.

    You mentioned flying. In the interest of not making my blog a freakin’ dissertation, I didn’t even get into the recycled air on planes that I worry about every time I fly. However, the last few times I flew, I was so peeved at the peeps reclining their seats (as I mentioned in my recent travel blog, “Beam Me Up, Scotty!”) I forgot all about the germs. There’s one case of failure to multi-task being a good thing. You know?

    So, it sounds like you’re going on a very special trip. I’m sure your friend on the other end will be jazzed to see you and hardly worried about you being covered with germs.

    Always a great day when you stop by!


  5. Lisaon 19 Jun 2011 at 11:45 pm

    DAmn…James… you got in before me !!! Next week. LOL

  6. James Morrisonon 20 Jun 2011 at 12:18 am

    Sorry Lisa, yeah maybe next week 😛

  7. Stuart Ross McCallumon 20 Jun 2011 at 12:54 am

    Greetings Molly,

    Another wonderful, witty, and insightful blog post which will undoubtedly leave many of your followers hoping to live in a germ-free world.

    Personally, I like to believe that I am considerate to others when sneezing uncontrollably and alike. However, I am certainly no Germophobe, clean yes, obsessive no.

    Well, talking about hand sanitizers boasting that they will kill 99.99% of germs, it is the remaining, 001% that will get us.

    To quote James, “Sterile high five.”

    Thanks Molly,

    Stuart 🙂

  8. Marta Moran-Bishopon 20 Jun 2011 at 1:22 am

    Another great post Molly. I am sorry I really don’t have any germ stories. Living on a farm teaches you not to make a big todo about a lot of things that I used to worry about when I lived in the city.

    Mind you there are times at work that I think about it but remember my mother, with her nine children, saying. “you can eat off my floor carrots, corn, beans.” Not really kidding either. We weren’t a horrid household, yet she thought a few germs gave us all a better immunity systerm.

    I did get violently ill one of the last times I flew so that does make me a bit squeamish. Escalators lordy don’t take them if I can help it the freaking scare me to death.

    Happy day my friend. Thanks again for the wonderful post, I always love it. I have to come back and reread and of course check everyone elses posts and your comments.

  9. Sheri Wilkinsonon 20 Jun 2011 at 8:30 am

    I have to admit that I am a germ-a-phobe as well. I carry hand sanitizer, that clips on my purse, belt loop etc. I have to admit that most people are not as aware as I am. I worked in the medical profession so I can tell you how easy it is to transmit viruses and bacteria.

    I have had (while at work) a person cough on me, when dining out a server sneezed while carrying a tray of food (not mine , but I can tell you how quickly I left that place !) and the ultimate during a business luncheon, a fellow college sneezed, wiped his nose with his hands, then attempt to shake mine. EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWW

    Thanks again Molly for a wonderful topic…now I feel the need to go wiped down my keyboard…….

  10. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Hey Sheri:

    So good to see you this week, g/f. Ha ha. I’m laughing so hard about having to go wipe down your keyboard.

    I had someone with the flu, who was coughing up a storm, try to shake my hand, too. I didn’t know what to do so I suddenly got very dizzy and had to sit down. It was lame, but not as lame as someone trying to give me his germs. I really don’t want to be a germophobe, but we should all be careful out there. Just sayin . . .


  11. Janeton 20 Jun 2011 at 12:58 pm


    I totally think about all those things everyday but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a germaphobe. Especially what you said about using your credit card and having to touch the pen that everyone else have touched. I also do this thing when I wash my hands in the bathroom where you scroll some paper towels first so you can wash your hands and use that towel to turn off the faucet in public bathrooms. Imagine all the germs on that! then use that papertowel to push for more paper towels, then use that to dry hands and open the door. But the tricky part is… if there are no trashcans close to the door, I would have to pull a kobe bryant and shoot the papertowel across the bathroom while keeping one leg to keep the door open and get the towel in the trash can… doesn’t always go my way (was never very good at sports) haha and I have to go pick it up, then the door closes again and do it all over haha

    Til next time xoxo

  12. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Janet:

    Great to see you! You are so right about the whole bathroom ordeal. It’s nice when straunts put up signs that say EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS, but then EVERYONE is usually stuck having to pull open the same germy door. Makes me freakin’ crazy. I have gone through a lot of bizarre contortions trying not to touch door handles. ha ha.

    See you next time!


  13. Pamon 20 Jun 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Well, Molly, I’ve just “discovered” you and your blog is a subject close to my heart. I teach in an educational program in healthcare and have one course completely on infection control! I take pride when my students tell me that I’ve ruined them in doing anything in public from going to the salad bar (they don’t all wash their hands after going to the bathroom) to using a “public pen” when signing a credit/debit card transaction. Needless to say, I don’t do salad bars & always provide my own pen. We all need to be proactive in this aspect of our lives. Always assume that everything is contaminated – because it is! When in an elevator, use your elbow to make your selections. When possible, use the self opening doors. Not because we’re lazy but because we’re cautious! I’m sure I’m sounding a bit paranoid and “HOwie OCD” but we all need to realize that we have no control over the cleaniness habitsof others – we only have some control how how it may affect us. When using a hand rub, make sure you hands are wet & your rubbing for at least 15 seconds. It doesn’t count when you rub for 5 seconds then Dry the rest off with a paper towel. It takes that long to kill the germs. When washing your hands, do it for as long as it takes you to sig “Happy Birthday” twice, re-soaping as needed. OK- I’m getting off my soap box. Thanks for the forum to show my”insane quirKiness” on Germs, Germs, Germs!

  14. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Hey Pam:

    I’m really happy to meet you, g/f. What an interesting comment you posted. Where do I begin? I think with salad bars.

    Okay, this one is painful for me because I’m a salad freak and I do adore my salads. However, a couple of times, while at my fave salad bar at a local supermarket, I saw different peeps putting their hands in there and picking out whatever their hearts desired — olives, cheese, cherry tomatoes — you name it. I was not happy and went to speak to someone I knew who worked there. I was freakin’ floored by what she told me. Sometimes, the store will do something if they see “the wrong element” come in, but if the offender is a regular customer, they are instructed to say nothing. That’s right. Let them pick away because we wouldn’t want to offend them. Are you freakin’ kidding me? I don’t want anyone’s hands in my food. Period.

    I, too, have heard that if you (silently, peeps!) sing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands, you are allowing enough time for the soap & water to do it’s magic.

    How cool that you teach a course on infection control. More power to you, Pam. Hope to see you again.

    Yours in pickiness,


  15. Shykia Bellon 20 Jun 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Great post, Molly!

    Living in New York I’ve encountered my fair share of germs. Yes, it’s a great city which boasts of a boiling pot of various cultures, but it’s also a hotbed for germs. One of my biggest pet peeves is germ-infested doorknobs and handles, especially in public restrooms (which I visit only on desperate occasions). Sadly, not everyone is considerate enough to wash their hands after answering nature’s call. Much to my repulsion, I’ve witnessed this several times. There I am, slathering and scrubbing my hands with soap and water when a woman exits the stall, smiles, and completely bypasses the sinks! Not only that, but she touches the very doorknob I would have to use on my way out. No rubber gloves on hand, I resort to thick paper towels to make my exit.

    I’ve also seen people at the supermarket forgoing the tongs at the fresh bread bin and rummaging through countless loaves with their bare hands (a great source of mass transit for the host of germs on the shopping cart). Fruit and veggies is one thing, but bread isn’t washable!

    Subways are another thing entirely, but that’s a whole other therapy session. I’ll just say that I once worked with a woman who refused to sit or touch anything while riding the train. As I recall, she had remarkable balance.

    Well, those are some of my stories. Glad to see there are others who believe in proper hygiene and sanitary behavior.


  16. Mollyon 20 Jun 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Hey Shykia:

    How nice to meet you, g/f! I live on the outskirts of NY, but as I travel into the city frequently, as much as I adore New York, I feel your pain. I’m loving the story about the woman who will only stand on the subway. I will sit, but I will not hold onto those germ poles or strap things. Actually, it is quite a balancing act. Avoiding germs isn’t the only thing I worry about on the subways. It’s the pervs who crush up against you when it gets crowded. That’s another blog!

    As for the restrooms (a subject of one of my earliest blogs), they are always a nightmare for women in so many different ways. Honestly, do people who buy paper towels have a clue how many are wasted just so we don’t have to touch the door knob or handle? Ugh!

    I’m with you on the bread, too. It’s not washable — you are so right. I always make a point to use tongs or paper to pick something up, and because of the peeps you talk about, I try to dig down and get the bread that has not been touched. What a world.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Yours in pickiness,


  17. Marta Moran-Bishopon 21 Jun 2011 at 2:43 am

    OMG Molly, I forgot to mention the restaurant I was working in when the owner had forgot to call the pest control people.

    Saturday night full house and an anniversary party of 60 people. LOL the roaches had gotten into the bread baskets. Apparently they didn’t throw the bread out after it got back to the kitchen. Just added a bit more and recycled. Yech. That job didn’t last long. Funny, the restaurant was supposed to be a 4 star. Can you believe that? I am very careful with bread baskets at restaurants now.

    Then, there was the time I spent on the road on a campaign trip. They had reserved rooms for us at a no-name motel. I was completely afraid to sleep on the bed, take my shoes off. or even use the shower. You would have gone running. To complete the picture I must tell you it had running girls of the night going from room to room. LOL —  not a great stay.

    Love you, Molly

  18. Mollyon 21 Jun 2011 at 2:22 pm

    OMG, Marta:

    I was just having a late lunch, a salad of field greens from a local straunt, and as I was reading about the cockroaches, I looked down at my salad, saw some dried cranberries, and thought, “OMG, they’ve come for me.” It doesn’t take a lot to get my imagination going. The only good part about your story, had it happened to me, would be that I wouldn’t be tempted by thigh-building bread for a very long time.

    The no-name motel sounds like a horror film. You should have stayed up all night and written a script. Sounds like it’s fresh in your memory — maybe there’s still time.

    You are awesome, Marta. Just love it when you share your stories.


  19. Marta Moran-Bishopon 21 Jun 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Sorry to creep you out Molly. I didn’t sleep for the 3 days I was there, LOL. It was freaking awful.

    You are awesome Molly. Hey what happened to your tweet button?

    Love you

  20. Leigh Annon 23 Jun 2011 at 4:22 am

    Wow! Another great week! You really brought up a lot of things that I had never thought about before. While I’m with you about the little sanitizing wipes for grocery carts at selected places, I never thought about the card reader! I don’t know why, but it just never occurred to me. I’ll certainly never look at that thing the same way again.

    And the bit you added about the powder kits w/black light — really good stuff!! Do you know where you could buy such a thing?

    However, one thing did come to my mind while reading this week’s installment. You have blogged about earlier, but it bears repeating: taking your purse into the bathroom — God forbid I’d ever put my purse on the floor — yeeek!!!

  21. Mollyon 23 Jun 2011 at 11:55 am

    Hey Leigh Ann:

    Great to hear from you this week, g/f.

    If you just do a search for “black light germ kit” or something similar, you’ll no doubt find the kits I was talking about. Someone did a test with one of them at my paper, the Swansea Herald. None of my coworkers wanted to get near one another for a week. ha ha! We got over it.

    Oh yes, the bathroom germs. I did want to mention that ugly situation, but you’re right, I’d already been there before in an early blog. But the predicament of having nowhere clean to hang your purse does bear repeating.



  22. Carolineon 23 Jun 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Oh, Molly, a dilemma for you to help me solve – – – – what is the proper way to handle this situation:

    I was at a Meet and Greet just tonight. Met someone of (possible) importance who sneezed, then tried to shake my hand. I gasped under my breath and did it. Was I right? Or could I have gracefully recanted?


  23. Mollyon 23 Jun 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Hey Caroline:

    I feel your pain, g/f. You know, it’s hard to know what you will actually do when you’re a situation, but I would probably blurt out something like, “OMG! I forgot to call my boss back!” and excuse myself promptly. Even if I looked foolish, I wouldn’t care. Anyone who sneezes and then goes to shake anyone’s hand should go to germ jail. 🙂

    Great to see you this week.


  24. Rebeccaon 24 Jun 2011 at 4:56 am

    Here’s one of my less graceful moments — once in a ‘straunt and after having a few glasses of wine, I decided it was time to utilize the ladies’ facilities. I took care of nature’s call at the same time as another female. I headed for the sink; she headed for the door, hands unwashed.

    I was pissed, and grossed out.

    Before she could get to the door, I said, “Didn’t you forget something?” giving her an insidious glare. She meekly came over to the sink and did the obligatory wash-up.

    Sometimes a glass (or seven) of wine can have a positive outcome. 🙂

  25. Mollyon 24 Jun 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Ha ha ha, Rebecca. Some glasses of vino and you’re a member of the germ police. You go, girl. Love it.


Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply