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Recently, I was in a large bookstore and had to urinate. I decided to find the washroom, rather than let nature take its course in the fiction aisle and risk public uprising – possibly arrest. To make a short story shorter, I was washing my hands – my body weight now just slightly lower – when I noticed a sign next to the mirror:

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS

It occurred to me – shouldn’t EVERYONE be washing their hands?

I suppose that while most of us struggle to maintain some semblance of a society, adhering rigorously to its rules and regulations, there will always be those unwashed masses amongst us whose crimes go undetected – therefore unpunished. This is where my father comes in. Seated in a restaurant, he had the uncanny ability to look up and tell whether or not someone exiting the washroom had washed their hands. I don’t know how he managed this. Maybe it was some internal logic based on the time the person entered the washroom and the time they exited, compared to some average value my father had calculated after years of careful observation. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how accurate he was. I never went up to a person in a restaurant and said: “Excuse me. Did you wash your hands just now? My father says you didn’t”. I’m afraid I just took what my father said as the gospel, which I guess all good sons do. I can only hope now that, as I enter middle age, my youthful rebelliousness subsides and I can appreciate my father’s lessons all the more. Somehow, I must find the strength to continue monitoring the washing of hands in restaurants – and bookstores, for that matter. Like any good son, I hope to make my father proud; and like any good citizen, I want to make sure EVERYONE has equally clean hands.

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2 thoughts on “The Washing of Hands

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