Monday, November 17, 2008

Snot Rags and Universal Balance

Captain Adventure caught a cold two weeks ago. It was apparently the equivalent of a volcano clearing its throat before erupting.

Again. And again. And again.

As per usual around here, we didn’t all get it at once and be miserable all together for a couple days and then we’re back to real life. Oh no. First, the boy. Then me. Then, Boo Bug. Then me again. Then Danger Mouse. But I was fine! Then Eldest. And me again.

And now, the husband. And as of about 4:00 yesterday, I had to admit that it got me a-frickin-GAIN.

A steady flow of snot is covering the household. We have gone through not one but two Costco-sized packages of Kleenex in less A WEEK.

I mean, really now.

Naturally, with all this recent Kleenex-consumption going on, I’ve found myself thinking about handkerchiefs. I actually prefer handkerchiefs to Kleenex. I know, I know, ‘ew, snot rag!’ and all that.

But dudes...seriously...why is a Kleenex any better?

We have for some reason in our collective minds bestowed some kind of Mystic Powers on Kleenex. Behold, I shall sit at my desk shooting my snot into this little piece of heavily bleached, soft and pillowy paper, and due to its magic-imbued 20% recycled fibers, I shall not need to de-germ my mitts afterward!

We sit at our desks filling up boxes of (apparently) unicorn-horn-healing-powers-blessed paper with our blatantly germ-ridden excretions, and feel as though we have thrown the germs, all of them away with the balled up paper.

AND YET, it has been my personal experience that a Kleenex is far less sturdy a shield when it comes to keeping the wet stuff off my fingers than a decent handkerchief. Point being, I don’t really feel that a Kleenex is any more sanitary than a handkerchief. It’s all in what you do after you use it. I mean, if you’re going to wad up the soaked cloth and stick it into your shirt pocket…OK, ew. Granted. Ew-point goes to the anti-handkerchief camp.

But habitual handkerchief-users are prone to thinking ahead. When I was commuting and using handkerchiefs, I kept a little stash of them and a little zip-up makeup bag in my purse. After I used one, I’d stuff it into the makeup bag, use a little hand sanitizer (see? thinking ahead...) and go on with my life.

Now, let’s say you’ve got one of those little packages of travel Kleenex in your pocket or purse or whatever. What do you do if you’re out and about and OH MY GAWSH, I gotta blow, right now…and there isn’t a handy trash can? (Because obviously, you are not one of those disgusting apes who just drops it on the ground. You have class and breeding and don’t want me to have to exhale noisily and mutter under my breath about class and lack thereof and what is this world coming to, anyway.)

You end up shoving the used Kleenex into your pockets or some other random place, don’t you. And then, an hour later, having completely forgotten you even have a nose, you stick your hand into your pocket and then, uh, remember that whole nose-blowing incident of 8:45 that morning.

Ew. I hate that. Now you’ve gotten your own cold germs on your hands not once, but twice…and now you’re going to go about the rest of your day touching things I’m then going to come along and touch, and really…is that nice?

What?! Why are you looking at me like that? Oh, OK, yes, I’ve got Germ Phobia. I don’t wanna get ‘em, I don’t wanna share ‘em.

But hey, in my defense: Check out how many times this one bug has reclaimed me in the last two weeks! I’m over it, hey, no I’m not! Yes I am! Nuh-uh, it’s back…gone…back…gone…back…it’s like my immune system is the Tender Heart Homeless Virus Shelter or something. It’s never met a germ it didn’t feel deserved a another chance. “Oh, you poor shivering little bacteria! Why don’t you come on in and rest a spell, have something to eat, make yourself at home for a week or two!”

Everybody else has a mere sore throat…I will end up with strep. Everybody else is over it in two days…I spend two weeks playing “better/worse/better/worse.”

Everybody else doesn’t even catch the fool thing in the first place…I catch it, like, fourteen times.

It doesn’t fit in with my personal perception of Self, which is a bit more robust and could totally survive in the Arctic Tundra with nothing more than a survival knife and a tinderbox, but hey.

There it is.

I would probably die within ten minutes of being dropped into the tundra because I caught a damned cold from a caribou.

ANYWAY. Here’s the other thing about handkerchiefs: They don’t have to be, you know, “handkerchiefs.”

In other words, while getting a package of twelve basic handkerchiefs for $9.95 is a pretty good deal, you can also DIY with scrap fabrics you’ve got lying around.

A worn out dishtowel, a favorite shirt that got the Immovable Stain, those sheets that finally frayed to the point of no return…they all make perfectly good handkerchiefs. A quick hem around the edges and you’ve got custom snot rags! What fun!

Which is the exact opposite of having a cold! Which would totally balance the Universe, right?!

THEREFORE, I suggest we all dig through our “I’m not sure this is good enough to donate but I surely hate to just throw it away” piles of clothing and make ourselves funky handkerchiefs, thus restoring balance to the Universe, reversing the global financial crises and freeing millions from the need for antidepressants!

Why yes, yes I am on pretty heavy duty cold medication right now…why do you ask…?


Anonymous said...

Try getting new toothbrushes. I read somewhere that germs can stay on your toothbrush and reinfect you after a cold. Is this true? I don't know, but you guys do really seem to keep passing it around.

She Knits Socks said...

I agree! Let's go with handkerchiefs and use the recycled paper for something else.

Anonymous said...

Yay handkerchiefs! Totally use 'em.
My nose drips all year, and I've got way better things to spend my money on than tissue.

Quilty bird said...

Question on hankerchiefs: After being, um, used - do you wash and reuse? Toss in with regular laundry? Separate load? (Whoa, that'd be lotsa hankies!)

Rena said...

My dad totally turned me off to cloth hankies when I was a kid. He would have one red hanky he'd use ALL DAY, over and over, sometimes telling US to use it (ewwww!)then shoving it back in his pocket for later. I think I'm cloth hanky traumatized!

Yarnhog said...

Oh, boy. That is just awful. When my kids were little I was sick for years straight. In fact, I started keeping track, and I had nine colds, two sinus infections, and strep in one nine month period, which is just totally unreasonable.

Lyssa said...

If you cut your hankies out of the backs of stained t-shirts, you won't even have to hem them. Just sayin'.

Also, if you use the single-use method you described (and I agree that else is kinda nasty) make them only as big as you need for a blow, not bandanna sized, or a day's supply will take up too much space in your purse.

Kristen Filipic said...

What about the ironing?

I understand handkerchiefs' value as the first thing you ever iron when you're say Danger Mouse's age when dealing with Very Hot Hunk of Metal takes quite enough attention.

But other than that limited exception, I FLATLY REFUSE to iron such things. FLATLY REFUSE.

Mother of Chaos said...

The toothbrush idea is actually excellent - I do santize them fairly regularly, not so much because of germs as because my horrible children keep leaving them WEIRD on the FLOOR, or sitting on the back of the toilet (EW!).

Handkerchiefs get tossed into the regular old laundry and washed. NO IRONING. I mean, really. I'm going to stuff them into my purse and they aren't a fashion statement anyway.

I used to iron my dad's, though, back in the day.

I think it actually irritated him, truth be told...

Firegarnet said...

I'm turning to handkerchiefs - didn't realize you could them so inexpensively and I'm sewing-challenged still. Possible silly question - about how many should one keep about? I would guess this varies with person to person, but a rough guess? No one I know uses them and I can't find an answer on google . . . I'm guessing a dozen or two per person?

Mother of Chaos said...

How many *totally* depends on the person and his/her *ahem* issues.

I usually had twelve and didn't use all of them...which meant that my husband was constantly swiping some of mine because he is a much more frequent nose-blower.