Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is it really necessary?

You know what's beginning to annoy me?

I'll tell you: the ubiquitous jug of hand sanitizer.

I was visiting a church away from home the other Sunday and before communion all of the lay assistants making their way to the altar pumped the big hand sanitizer jug on the back altar and rubbed their hands. I suppose the thinking is that the germs will go from the assistants hands to the communion wafer to the recipient. Okay, fair enough, but do we really need the jug of goop behind the altar? I don't know why this annoys me so much and if I were a more devout person I would be considering the mote in my own eye. But it does.

Maybe it's that we have blue-jean clad lay-assistants in the first place. That's certainly a part of it. But it's also the smugness related to this line-dance at the altar, as in "I'm going to make sure you don't get any of my germs." It's the faux pre-occupation with public safety when in years gone by common sense did just fine. Mind you, I have been known to ask the deli counter worker to take off the stupid rubber gloves while making my sandwich.

What if Michelangelo had included the hand sanitizer jug in his "The Last Supper." Or even worse, our Lord himself before breaking the bread pausing to pump.

I remember doing mission work centuries ago in Mexico and being invited into the very modest adobe home of  a local family for lunch. Grandmother was making fresh tortillas, and as she was standing at the glass-less window looking out and rolling the corn meal she reached over and brushed away some dirt that had gathered on the window sill and then in one motion went back to tortilla making. I smiled and thanked God for a real human being and the dirt.

I do have one question though. What happens to the germs that go from hand to pump before they are sanitized? I assume they rest on the pump nozzle for the next person to get those germs and on and on until the pump nozzle is filled with 10x more germs than when you started. I'm just sayin'  . .  it's weird.

It's the disproportionate concern for trivialities that annoys me most. Rend you hearts not your garments the old prophet said, I agree.


RJG said...

Haha! When I was a kid (early 70s), in the lowest common denominator of the Dallas Independent School District, we used to all drink out of the public water fountain. And all the kids, including me, used to put our whole mouth on it so as to get the most water. And we lived to tell the tale. Imagine that? I think we've become somewhat obsessive with all of this. I call it the Cockroach Theory - maybe a whole body full of germs is a better defense than anything else?

Mumbles said...

I was "scared straight" on the sanitizer thing--I spent years arguing against, championing exposure to germs, etc. And then I wound up living with someone with a chronic MRSA. Sharing quarters, sharing bathroom, tub, toilet, name it. And I became the friggin' QUEEN of antibacterial EVERYTHING! LOL, I bleached and Lysoled (it's a verb if I make it so) and sanitized. It's been four years since I was in that situation, and only now am I getting to where I don't need a bottle in the car, another in the bathroom, yet another in the kitchen, etc.

One day at a time, huh? I'll get there.


John said...

Hand sanitizer is to infectious diseases what the TSA is to terrorism.

Francis Shivone said...

RJG -- I did a post years ago named "We used to eat dirt" It was true and like your story.

Mumbles -- far be it from me to criticize anyone's eccentricities, the post is, of course, an exaggeration of my thoughts.

John -- I think that just about sums it up right.

Sunni R. said...

I had noticed the huge pump bottle of hand sanitizer at our church as well but hadn't really noticed the pre Communion line up. I have to confess that I am less bothered by the hand sanitizer than the dress issue you touched on briefly. And so help me, in the summer, when people start wearing SHORTS to Mass- ugh. It does vary greatly from church to church in our diocese, and ours isn't the worst. Like you, I should be more worried about the speck in my own eye and my own dark and dirty soul, but I am weak and human and I let it bother me.

Lynn said...

My Gram used to say that you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die. My kids used to play outside in the dirt, every day that it was warm enough (small house, many kids). I learned, midway through rearing them, that strep is endemic in the soil where we lived. They are remarkably healthy human beings. I bleached the shower when Beloved was still alive, on two or three occasions when my intermittent athlete's foot was trying to regain a toehold. I figured that athlete's foot on top of metastatic cancer would be adding insult to injury.

Francis Shivone said...

Sunni, don't get me started on bermuda shorts at mass (unless you are at the beach, especially Bermuda). BTW, had lunch withyour dad today. We splurged...two orders of tortillas and beans. :)

Lynn, always good to hear from you ...thanks. Dirt is good.