With all the stunning events
happening across the world, from rebellion in Libya to the meltdown of Charlie
Sheen, there was one piece of news last week that seemed to grip the nation
like no other story has in quite a long time.
While many folks expected
that the Middle East would explode eventually, resulting in a fiery apocalypse,
and we also expect Hollywood celebrities to get themselves in trouble, the
shockwaves from the other big story of the week are still being felt
It's the startling news from
a University of Arizona study that found that 72 percent of our nation's
shopping carts are infected with fecal matter, many of which tested positive
for E. coli bacteria. Yes, your toilet is likely a cleaner and less disgusting
place than your shopping cart.
While many people I know were
ignoring the news from Libya, Egypt and even our own political squabbles at the
statehouse, the fact that they're handling feces when they go shopping is
something too shocking to ignore. By Friday, everyone I know was talking about
The news doesn't surprise me
because a long life has taught me that most folks are disgusting creatures when
it comes to matters of hygiene. What is both strange and hilarious is that
people appear to be horrified and helpless when they hear something like this.
Think about it. The germs
living on your grocery shopping cart came from someone's poop and were likely
deposited there by someone who didn't wash his or her hands after performing
the act of pooping. They knew they were infecting your cart but they just
That seems to be the
inconvenient truth that is upsetting people nationwide over this story. For all
our freedoms, liberty and prosperity, apparently many Americans deliberately
choose to poop on their hands and then go grocery shopping. It's hard to wrap
one's mind around that.
If that wasn't bad enough,
the related news that touch-screen cellphones are also infected with bacteria
brings the story the one-two punch that makes it a guaranteed water-cooler
topic for months and months to come.
The very fact that people are
actively worried about this is a source of endless entertainment to me. It's
far more enjoyable than any of Charlie Sheen's ramblings because millions of Americans
are going to be haunted by the poop news for quite some time.
The short-term reaction is
going to be swift. Customers are going to insist on germ-free carts. Some may
even wear disposable gloves while shopping. Others are going to buy package after
package of hand sanitizer and wipes in reaction.
It's predictable that people
will overreact to the poopy shopping cart story. These are the same people who
spend the entire fall and winter spraying Lysol on every exposed surface, who
insist everyone near them use hand sanitizer, and who worry terminally about
catching the flu.
Of course, they usually don't
get flu shots or use proper hygiene in other aspects of their lives. So when
they get sick, they figure that they simply hadn't used enough Lysol or
In the office where I work,
there are people who insist on scrubbing their cubicles every day with
sanitizing wipes, despite the fact that no one but them uses their desk. They
pollute the air with this stuff and make me sick with it.
They spray Lysol so heavily
that the air becomes thick and moist with these noxious chemicals. And then, if
they're like many Americans, they use the restroom and bring millions of
bacteria back with them to their cubicles.
I'm no germophobe but even I
get discomfited when I see someone emerge from a bathroom stall, look in the
mirror for a few seconds and then stroll out casually. These, my friends, are
the culprits responsible for your poop-encrusted shopping carts.
If you live in a place with
indoor plumbing and you're still too lazy to wash your hands after you
defecate, then you deserve to get stomach flu or whatever else was living in
But the answer isn't to
poison our air with disinfectant, as the gut reaction to last week's study
seemed to indicate. Nor is it to wipe down every surface in the world with
nasty, alcohol-infused cloths.
It's to show some common
sense and wash your hands. It's not that hard, really. Even in my drinking
days, when I was too hung over to make it to the restroom without falling over
once or twice, I still had enough composure to clean my hands after I'd puked
all over them. It can be done.
Meanwhile, let's keep
torturing the truly hygiene-obsessed with news of the poop carts and poisoned
cellphones. It's too much fun watching them squirm over this. We should be able
to keep ourselves entertained until summer with this information. They deserve