Monday, August 31, 2009

Filthy lucre and H1N1

Filthy Lucre usually means obscene or shameful profit, but just plain old paper money is really dirty. I learned this sanitation tip when I was clerking at Zickuhr's Drug store in high school. According to a cartoon health item on the dangers of swine flu I saw this morning viruses can live on paper money for 2 weeks. I always shudder a bit when the coffee clerk pats or rubs the top of the paper top while serving me after handling the money. It would be much better to have the customer pick up and place the cover over the cup.

When I was the veterinary medicine librarian at Ohio State we were constantly washing our circ desk where the returned books came in--zoonotic diseases, you know. Books and hard surfaces in libraries, including keyboards, are really dirty--you could probably scrape them before you washed them.

Americans have a really bad nervous tic of constantly touching their face, nose, eyes, ears or hair while speaking, either casually, in conversation or from the podium. They even do it while on the phone, although the listerner can't see them. Thirty years ago I used to attend the "brown bag" sharing of the agricultural credit group at Ohio State. Over half of the grad students were from Asia or Africa. Since it wasn't my field (I was the librarian), I would amuse myself by noting face touching and nose rubbing by the speakers. I almost never saw a 3rd world student do that--it was about 100 to 1, in favor of the Americans.

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