A Guide to Proper Hand-Washing Technique

Did you know that your hands are loaded with bacteria and other contaminants? They’re filthy! They spread disease! Oh, it’s just awful. And it’s not scientifically possible to sterilize your hands. You can, however, get them really, really clean. Here’s how!

1. First, you need to get some water going. We want it hot, hot, hot! The hot-water tap is contaminated, but that’s okay, because you’re about to wash. Touch it again, just to show how brave you are. Touch it one more time. Three taps wards off bad things. Now we’re ready to wash!

2. Next, choose your poison. What kind of soap is for you? Bar soap is out; other people have probably used it (a possibility too horrible to contemplate), and even if it’s unopened it’s made from animal fats, which is revolting. The whole thing just seems so dirty. Liquid soap it is! Choose an antibacterial formula if you’re worried about contamination from germs. If you’re worried about contamination from death, choose dishwashing liquid. It’s so death-free it’s safe to use on plates and flatware! But only if it’s BRAND-NEW. Even then, you never know. Okay, let’s skip the soap altogether. Plain water will be fine.

3. Rub your hands together vigorously and scrub, scrub, scrub. The Centers for Disease Control recommend you wash your hands for ten seconds, but what do they know? If they’re such geniuses why do people still get hepatitis? A full minute, minimum. How about this: you keep your hands under that tap until you answer the philosophical question “Is water clean?”

4. I don’t know if water is clean. What if water isn’t clean? What if water just makes you dirtier?

5. You’ll wash and wash and wash but you’ll never be safe.

6. Okay, try not to think about it. Let’s just say water is clean and move on.

7. But what if it’s not clean?

8. We’re moving on. This next part is tricky. Your hands are clean-but they’re wet. How to get them dry without getting them dirty again? The air-dry technique is best. Sure, it’s slow, but it’s safe. Simply hold your hands in the air until they’re completely dry. Be sure not to touch anything! If you touch something, or if for some reason you think you maybe touched something, go back to Step 1. Yes, let’s go back to Step 1 just to be safe.

9. Now we’re in a hurry. You’re going to have to dry your hands with paper napkins. That’s fine. Just make sure it’s a new package. Did you touch the part of the package that was sealed with glue? Is that glue? Glue is dirty. Wash again, just to be safe, then dry your hands on a napkin that absolutely for sure didn’t touch the glue.

10. Use a napkin to turn off the tap and another napkin to open the door on the way out. Some people won’t even touch the door with a napkin; they’ll just wait until somebody comes to open the door for them. But they’re crazy!

– Jennifer Traig

I found this in my book for Composition. Obviously, it’s an example of a Process Essay. Pretty funny!

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8 thoughts on “A Guide to Proper Hand-Washing Technique

  1. Oh, the assumptions, the logic! It’s a good thing this isn’t even adumbrative of female reasoning: We’d be stewed.

    Yes, it’s funny.

    “Is water clean,” is philosophical? Difficult, to those who want to fuss, but really unimportant. Sarcasm is so hard to deal with.

  2. Yes, you’re right. We probably would be “stewed”. Though I’ve met a few males with this type of reasoning….. : ) No joke.

    I wish that I could become that witty on such a simple matter. It’s rather difficult.

    Is it not? What would make it philosophical?

  3. Beware, for this is witty because it is exaggeration to absurdity. (That’s what I should have said instead of calling it sarcasm. Exaggeration is incredibly hard to decipher, but not too hard to do.)

    A question of water’s significance might make it so. By “clean,” I think the other Jennifer means something like “free from germs, contaminants, etc.” That’s . . . rather an unphilosophical consideration.

  4. I’m curious. Why must I beware? I’m not disagreeing, I’m just failing to understand.

    Are you sure that that is what she means? Maybe it is… I was thinking that it was more along the philosophical lines, thus making it more humorous because of its sudden serious. I could be wrong though…

  5. Exaggeration is a deadly evil, being hard to decipher and, as Weaver puts it, a form of ignorance. (That isn’t to say that all exaggeration is or comes from ignorance.) It’s also very common. It’s like having a mad tiger, and then many mad tigers, to boot.

    You think she means something else? Please do not withhold light! If either of of us is wrong, then it is most likely I.

  6. And thus, what appears to be something humorous here is really just overdone (I suppose we could just say “burned” where it could have been “cooked well”)? I take you to mean from the statement in parentheses, that some exaggeration (done well) is a good thing – sort of like salt. However, society today finds this sort of an essay quite funny because we have blinded ourselves to the tiger(s)? Perhaps I’m not making any sense.. Tell me if so.

    Well……… now I’m quite hesitant to even say anything on the matter. Now that we speak of sarcasm and exaggeration, I’m inclined to assume that though she may mean the actual philosophical question of the purity of water, but only as far as to use it for exaggeration.

    This comment’s grammar is weeping, so don’t rub it in. I’m off to grab it a hankie.

  7. Oh, no doubt it’s humorous! But, like salt, (Aye! That’s apt!) it’s easy to build tolerance for it and to expect greater doses of it. And we have, and that is another way of saying what you have said, that is, “we have blinded ourselves to the tigers.” But exaggeration has a fundamental weakness that is rendered more pernicious by its greater use: it conceals the truth.

    Whether she’s only bringing up that question only for humorous effect, that’s a great example of the problem that can attend exaggeration. When it’s rampant, deciphering anything that is less than perfectly clear is extraordinarily hard. (Hence, if everyone would keep his use of exaggeration down to a sprinkling, exaggeration itself would benefit for its increased effectiveness, everyone’s listeners also in that manner, and again because the real meaning in his locutions would not be obscured.)

    Forgive me. I’m not thinking very clearly, having been reading some of the venerable Unk’s chronicles, among other things.

  8. Sort of like the Man in Black’s ability to consume iocane. He simply developed a tolerance to it. Though that seems too harsh for this.

    Of course it’s humorous. I especially find it humorous because of how stressed it is in my line of work/interest/study. But, thinking as we are about this, I wonder if we would have found this humorous back when language was taken more seriously. We find it humorous now, even though we have confirmed that she has a rather large amount of exaggeration. Is this because we are our culture’s children?

    You’re forgiven, though I must admit that it made sense. Imagine thinking like this about these sort of things after a long sociology test…..

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