Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I wanna hold your hand... NOT!

An article I saw today, which appeared in no less a magazine than ‘Forbes’, began as follows: “Women do it better than men, but no one does it perfectly.” As you can imagine, I was immediately interested. And then I read the next line, which said: “The issue, of course, is hand washing.”

Seriously, the article was about a new survey of washrooms in public places which found, quite shockingly I’m sure, that only 83 percent of American adults actually wash their hands after using the bathroom, even though 91 percent say they do. The survey was released Wednesday by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association, a trade group, in honour of Clean Hands Week.

I have a number of issues with this survey, the most important of them being: Exactly how much importance should we give to the findings of a group of people who feel the need to honour something called ‘Clean Hands Week’? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense if the concerned authorities would just get them admitted to a mental institution? Or better, have them taken outside and shot?

The survey was carried out in two stages. In the first stage, more than 6,300 individuals were observed as they washed or didn't wash their hands in restrooms at different public attractions in four major cities in the U.S.A. In the second, a telephone survey of more than 1,000 adults was carried out designed to find out what Americans said they were doing. Overall, 83 percent of adults (90 percent of women and 75 percent of men) observed did wash their hands. In the telephone survey, however, 91 percent of adults claimed to always wash their hands after using a public restroom.

Let’s first concentrate on the findings of the telephone survey. To be frank, I’m not at all concerned with the 91 percent of people who said that they did wash their hands. I couldn’t care less if they were lying or not. I’m more concerned with the 9 percent who said otherwise. Imagine, one day, you get a call at home in which an unknown stranger is asking you about your personal hygiene habits. Now, as a normal person, what would you do? Hang up, right? But no, these 90 odd people carried on talking and in answer to the question, “Do you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom?”, actually replied with a “No, I don’t.” I mean, how stupid is that? And given this level of intelligence, I’m sure that if given a chance, they’d have explained further, saying: “I usually don’t wash my hands, but occasionally when I get a little bit of pee on my hands, I wipe them on my jeans.”

And now, let’s focus on the first stage of this path-breaking study, when people were ‘observed’ at public washrooms. Isn’t that illegal or something? I hope they did it with some discretely placed cameras at least because it would have been really disturbing if a nerdy looking guy with spectacles was quietly standing in the corner of the public washroom watching you as you use it and then making notes in a small black diary. The women won’t have too much of a problem, given that they generally have cubicles but it’s not like that for the guys, who have to do it in the open.

A guy peeing in a public urinal is like a golfer trying to putt. You’ve seen it on TV a million times, when the camera focuses on him from behind. He stands still for a long time and then he wiggles his butt and settles himself. And then stands still for some more. Now this kind of behaviour might be incredibly hilarious to the people watching but don’t you think that it’s also very important to respect the privacy of these poor, innocent men.

But whatever issues we may have with the actual study process, both legal or otherwise, we just cannot ignore the gravity of the findings. "Eighty percent of all infections are transmitted by direct and indirect contact," says Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center and author of five books, including one called ‘The Secret Life of Germs’.

Even if you don’t believe me, you just cannot argue with the opinion of a man who is so obsessed with germs that he is not satisfied with merely knowing about their normal lives and day jobs but has actually spent time trying to find out about their secret lives. Now, if that is not commitment, what is? So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you might have to shake hands with an American adult, do remember that your life could be in grave danger. If it’s an American woman, then you’re pretty safe but if you have to shake hands with an American man, then you’d better get some insurance real quick.

The good doctor went on to say that ‘hand washing’ was the surest way to protect our health and safeguard ourselves against infection. But not just any hand washing, he adds. Dr. Tierno recommends washing the hands for 40 seconds or longer, or as he puts it, time enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Now, on one hand, we have a group of experts telling us not to waste water and on the other hand, we have Dr. Tierno telling us to place our hands under a running tap and sing “Happy Birthday” twice. What I want to know is, which of the experts do we believe, and exactly how insane is this Dr. Tierno?

Now, the actual result of the survey – the fact that women wash their hands better than us guys came as no surprise to me, given that the survey was carried out by the Soap and Detergent Association, which, as I proved in an earlier post, is guilty of a female bias. But in all honestly, we guys know that women do most things better than us and the truth is, we don’t really mind. But we wish that these bloody scientists would stop reminding us about it and let us be the slobs we are.

So, respected scientists, we men already know what we're like. You don't need to keep telling us. We’re sick, disgusting and all those other adjectives people normally use to describe members of the pig family. The research you keep carrying out about men and women does not do too much good for our ego and self-respect. In other words, we don’t like your research. We spit on your research. No, we pee on it. And then, we don’t wash our hands.

P.S: If you don't believe a word of this post, click here.


Blogger ashwin sundar said...

hey vinod u seem 2 have got ur hands full n by the way did u think wat wud happen if the same survey was taken in india?even saurav ganguly mite b caught he he

11:21 AM  
Blogger Sameera said...

damn u the hell do u manage to be soooooooo good .....not at washin hands da,at bloggin?

im totally in ur work dude...
have been advertisin it all over the place..

keep it up man.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Kaushik said...

Man, about those people who actually said they didn't wash their hands, put it down to stereotypical jock IQ of an American.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Gounder Brownie said...

Why are your posts these days tending towards 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus' sorts?? Do you plan to usurp Shoba De or something?? :p

4:35 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Hey Ashwin!! I didn't quite get the Ganguly bit..

4:37 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Thanks Sameera!!! Keep visiting!!! And advertising!!! :)

4:37 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Kaushik, yeah, i mean how jock-level is that??

4:38 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Gounder, ya!! Do you think I have a chance?? ;)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

And Gounder, "But in all honestly, we guys know that women do most things better than us and the truth is, we don’t really mind. But we wish that these bloody scientists would stop reminding us about it and let us be the slobs we are. "

Would Shobha De have said something like that??? :)

4:58 PM  
Blogger icarus prakash said...

good stuff , as usual :-)

7:21 PM  
Blogger Deepa said...

I like the part about "we guys know that women do most things better than us..." :)

8:21 PM  
Blogger Lord of all Things said...

wooowwwwe!!!! we have to wash hands after going to the pee?? ohh !! i dint know that!!:P

9:16 PM  
Blogger Cipher said...

ROTFL // "I usually don’t wash my hands, but occasionally when I get a little bit of pee on my hands, I wipe them on my jeans." //

11:42 PM  
Blogger pr@$#@nt# said...

I am wondering, did Morarji Desai ever wash his hands and more importantly his mouth.. And , he he another good and funny post dude, ur on fire!!!

11:54 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Hey thanks Icarus Prakash, keep visiting!!! :)

8:31 AM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Deepa, thanks!!!

*self satisfied grin that the attmpt to attract the female readers is working*

8:32 AM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Lord of All things, yeah, I was pretty shocked too!!! :)

8:33 AM  
Blogger Vinod said...

He he Cipher, thanks!!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Yeah, Peelu, i wish this survey had been done in his time!!! I would've loved to see the observers' faces!!!

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Arjun said...

Your bum-wiggling description reminds me of an incident that happened to me a couple of months back at San Diego's Sea World.
I was walking out of the men's room there complaining to my friend that they gave you so little privacy in the U.S 'restrooms' that you might just pee into the adjacent guy's urinal if you weren't careful, when I saw this rather oddly cheerful girl leering into the men's room, sitting just outside it. I was thinking to myself what a totally desperate woman she must have been, when guess what - another 20-something (cutish looking, I must add) girl walks out of the men's room! I thought for a moment that it might have been one of those cross-dressing, long haired guys, but her feeling of accomplishment gave it away..."How was it, how was it" asked the girl who was waiting. "No big deal, just a bunch of guys standing and pissing into the wall" was the reply.
I don't know what else she was expecting. Quite a few guys who came out after that couldn't hide the amazement "Did you just see that?", "Holy crap, was that a girl?". Well, I wonder what would have happened if the sexes were reversed. Ouch, my back hurts thinking about it!!
Keep posting...

10:00 AM  
Blogger ashwin sundar said...

Ganguly was caught once scratchin his crotch n now he cud be caught in this act too usin ur spy cameras.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Gounder Brownie said...

I love Shoba De. She's so profound, she makes me weep.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous King Shyster said...

Maybe you should try varying your style a little bit. It's tiring to read the same sort of shit again and again and the same kind of "Too funny da!!!! You ROCK!?!" comments. How might anything you write go? Well …

A recent survey indicates women are less likely to wear the same undergarments for a whole week than men. One shudders to think about the consequences of this groundbreaking revelation. Yeah, seriously. How can you stuff those who conducted the survey and those thousands who volunteered information for it into the same Agra mental hospital without the ground under it giving way? Maybe there will be landslides/floods around Agra.

I hope you get the point.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beggars can't be choosers

1:20 PM  
Blogger Satyashree Srikanth said...

Hey, that was a great one. Actually I cant decide whether its this or the one before this.

Whats up with you nowadays?

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> We spit on your research.
Yes, we are with you dude.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Kaushik said...

My god.

Maybe no one should care about washing their hands if they just forget about handshaking and just namastefy everybody. Maybe we should conduct a survey on hygenic and unhygenic handshakes. A Class 1 Hygiene Handshake will be one where both handshakers are wearing sterilised rubber gloves rubbed with disinfectant and wearing masks and lab coats.

A Class 982 Hygiene Handshake (least hygienic) would be from a person who has not bathed (ever), who digs his nose, scratches his groin, and shakes your hand in such a way that both hands have maximum area of contact with each other.


10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzz. boring.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Ramanujam said...

cool stuff and a nice read...
when ul b back in chennai?keep ur hands on the side bar yer...,
I m listening to _____,it's more than three months old!!!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

nice one..whats the status in India?? should i have to think twice before shaking hands with my boss ? :)

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

idle mind......... devil's workshop

7:33 PM  
Blogger akshay said...

nice post man...
very seinfeld like!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Srikumar said...

gud one.

and indians are faaar ahead. they knew way back in time tht forbes would fund such a research, so they eliminated all body contact by introducing the NAMASTE...

10:29 PM  
Blogger Neon said...

author of five books, including one called ‘The Secret Life of Germs’.
Before I checked out ur link for the Forbes article I seriously thought that you were making that up! How jobless can people be??

P.S: Very funny post!

9:04 PM  
Blogger Sheks said...

unbelievable.How can people of developed countries not afford to learn basic hygiene.Hands of chennai slum dwellers r cleaner which is Y they often say "Un moonji-la yeah peechangaiya vekka".

11:32 PM  
Blogger pr!tz said...

Such a tickler you turned out to be!!!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Vikram H said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Vikram H said...

lol...dude did u know that the sugar-coated fennel seeds that are given at the end of dinner, in most indian restaurants, contain alarming quantities of human urine?? Thanks to the same habit of non-washing after doing the necessary! :)

Maybe ill post a topic on this in my next blog!

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sothle Uppu Potu Saaptiya?

Finally its all a matter of whether the dude/dudette is worth his salt.Which brand of soap does this gent-deter. Whilst we surf for this info he just prefers to rin...or urine to be precise. Shake well before and after use.

The Associated Press recently reported a story about a group of St. Joseph, Missouri workers who--puzzled as to why their morning coffee had been tasting so foul for the past few weeks--rigged up a secret videocamera to monitor the office coffee nook for possible clues. Sure enough, after viewing the first day's highlights, workers at the Wire Rope of America company discovered the root of the problem--although they may have wished that they hadn't.

The tape clearly showed one of their office mates, 41-year-old Milton Ross, urinating into the coffee pot. Ross was immediately fired from the company--it's amazing that he wasn't murdered on the spot--and later charged with assault. The story goes on to say that local health investigators "didn't believe that any communicable diseases could have been contracted by drinking the spiked coffee." Dean Shepherd, Buchanan County Assistant District Attorney, says that Ross was "trying to injure a co-worker when he used the pot as a urinal."

Perhaps. But it's also possible that Ross was merely attempting to improve the general health of the workers at Wire Rope of America with his controversial prescription. In fact, according to certain alternative health guides, Ross was actually following medicinal directives laid down centuries ago.

In his book, The Water of Life: A Treatise on Urine Therapy (State Mutual Books, NY), John W. Armstrong details numerous case histories of people suffering from gangrene, various types of cancer, diabetes, consumption, disease of the heart valves, Bright's Disease, bladder problems, malaria, fevers, wounds, burns, bronchial asthma, and many other afflictions. While their afflictions vary greatly, all of these patients have one thing in common: They were all cured by drinking their own urine. And as Armstrong says in his book, since Urine Therapy for virtually ailment is virtually the same, no diagnosis is required. All one needs to do is to consume a quantity of urine daily to be set on the road to wellville.

This survey brings to my the the unique manufacturing process of a kothu barotta. The amount of blood converted to tears through different biological processes is indeed mystifying. There is the case of the kothufying in one hand and the requirement of having something totally Hindu military on the other like Kai-ma. the name says it all.

Utica, Michigan - Realising it is flushing potential profits down the drain, an enterprising young company has come up with a way to trap medically powerful proteins from urine. Enzymes of America has designed a special filter that collects important urine proteins, and these filters have been installed in all of the men's urinals in the 10,000 portable outhouses owned by the Porta-John company, a subsidiary of Enzymes of America.

"Urine is known to contain minute amounts of proteins made by the body, including medically important ones such as growth hormone and insulin. There is a $500-million-a-year market for these kinds of urine ingredients.

"This summer, Enzymes of America plans to market its first major urine product called urokinase, an enzyme that dissolves blood clots and is used to treat victims of heart attacks. The company has contracts to supply the urine enzyme to Sandoz, Merrell Dow and other major pharmaceutical companies. Ironically, this enterprise evolved from Porta-John's attempt to get rid of urine proteins-a major source of odour in portable toilets.

"When the president of Porta-John began consulting with scientists about a urine filtration system, one told him he was sitting on a gold mine.

"The idea of recycling urine is not new, however. 'We thought about this,' says Ian Whitcome of Amgen, a Los Angeles biotechnology firm, 'but realised we'd need thousands and thousands of litres of urine.'

"Porta-John and Enzymes of America solved that problem. The 14 million gallons flowing annually into Porta-John's privies contain about four-and-a-half pounds of urokinase alone. That's enough to unclog 260,000 coronary arteries." (Hippocrates magazine, May/June 1988)

7 reasons to piss off ... And why its good for you!!

1. Drinking. The mid stream of the first morning urine is taken. Begin with two-three ounces and increase it to your personal, comfortable level.

2. Fasts. Fasts with urine and water are practiced for one or more days. J.W.Armstrong, a renowned urine therapist from England, lets his patients fast for up to 45 days. Fasts are only recommend under trained, medical supervision.

3. Enemas. The easiest way to take an enema is with a syringe containing two-three ounces of urine. The urine is kept in the colon for as long as possible.

4. Gargle. Urine is kept in the mouth 20-30 minutes, or as long as possible, for gum problems and other lesions of the mouth and tongue.

5. Douche. For any vaginal discomfort or cleansing, a solution of Golden Seal and urine will give comfort and healing.

6. Eye and ear drops. Any pain, burning and tiredness in the eyes may get relief with a few drops of urine placed into the eyes. The ears also benefit greatly if receiving a few urine drops for ear pain and discomfort.

7. Urine sniffing. This is the most effective way of treatment for any sinus congestion and upper respiratory problems.

Anyone for Uppma?

7:44 PM  
Blogger poojabal said...


this is pooja from pune.
just visited your blog...
and i am absolutely in love with your writing.
it is a great fun to read your blog.
keep it up.
and i think, u can quit software eng. and turn to writing as a full time profession.
think over it!

12:26 AM  
Blogger Hiren said...

Your blog reminded me of something in a book I had read where the father takes his son to the doctor to show him under the microscope what germs are and what they do to you if you don't clean your hands. Thereafter the son did not have to be told. People do all sorts of crazy things in this world as evidenced by the Guiness book of world records. To each his own-live and let live.

1:08 PM  
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I was searcing for bladder cancer info when I came accross your bladder cancer blog... I think you would like **THIS**

5:34 PM  
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I just browsing through some blogs and came across yours!

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Your site kept me on for a few minutes unlike the rest :)

Keep up the good work!


5:52 PM  
Blogger Adult Personals said...

hey nice site you have here!

Any tips on bloggin ? id like to see your reply to this story :)

look forward to the next edition

i have bookmarked you

8:18 PM  
Anonymous jammy said...

Hi mate....
I for one dont wash my hands...but when telling people...I always say that I do. Guess, it is more a habit of cirumstances....
(While growing up...I didn't like wetting my feet while washing my hands but if we had a wash basin in our washroom 20 years back..I wud have had the habit!)

11:08 PM  
Blogger Brood Mode said...

hey is infy keeping u so busy that u can't post?

4:17 PM  
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8:58 AM  
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10:25 AM  
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1:22 AM  
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12:25 PM  
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:28 AM  
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10:45 PM  
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1:24 PM  
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5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a reply maybe???


2:28 AM  
Blogger vibha said...

good one i enjoyed reading it

3:17 AM  
Blogger Supremus said...


This is one awesome post dude!! Awesome!! I'm running into a good blog finally after so many days!

Great one- keep such coming man!

10:37 PM  
Anonymous thelastjedi said...

Only in America. I'd have never imagined such groups actually existed. Only in America could telephonic surveys of the kind described take place.

Keep it up V.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Roberto Iza said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:25 AM  

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