Thursday, April 30, 2009

If You Touch Poop: An Excerpt from "The Book of Germs"

If you touch poop you are in trouble.

Poop if full of bacteria, red blood cells, viruses, and facultative anaerobic organisms.

Fig. A: Touching poop is so dangerous that you need a hazmat suit to do it safely.

In the event that you touch poop, it is important that you remain calm and take immediate action to purge your hand of its fatal contaminants.

First off, you will need to wipe away as much poop residue as possible. Using your uncontaminated hand (assuming that you have one) grasp a wad of toilet paper from the nearest bathroom. Assuming that the bathroom is stewarded by a responsible adult who keeps it properly stocked, there should be some wound around a cardboard spool on a collapsible spindle installed next to your toilet. With your uncontaminated hand, unwind an ample length of the toilet paper and separate it from the remaining plane of paper with a sharp tug. It is important that you tug sharply and swiftly at the paper so that linear acceleration overcomes angular inertia, otherwise the toilet paper will fail to tear and simply unwind further.

When you have obtained an ample handful of toilet paper, use it to wipe off as much as you can of the poop residue on your contaminated hand. To prevent your uncontaminated hand from becoming an also contaminated hand, take care to maintain a centimeter-or-more-thick barrier of clean toilet paper between the soiled hand and the one cleaning it. If the barrier between your clean and dirty hand is any less than that, the poop particles will be able to wriggle between the paper fibers and contaminate your uncontaminated hand. However, no protection is absolute: there are billions of particles contained in single speck of poop, so even if you follow all these precautions with perfect precision the law of averages dictates that some of these particles are bound to slip through the layers of toilet paper and leave your uncontaminated hand contaminated to a microscopic extent.

Ignoramus sez: “Microscopic? So what?”

So what? I’ll tell you what so, Ignoramus! The Ebola virus is so small you need a microscope to see it, and there’s nothing "so what" about contracting Ebola!

Fig B: Typhoid Mary killed hundreds of people by touching poop.

Now, as I was saying, when you are finished, flush the soiled toilet paper down the toilet. Now that both your hands are contaminated to varying degrees, you should depress the toilet flushing lever with your toe.

The next step is to wash the remaining film of poop off your hand, as well as the stray poop particles from your microscopically contaminated hand.

To wash your hands, you will need soap and water. Water can be accessed from the sink. However, to release water from the sink you will have to turn the handles, which are called handles because they are hand-operated. But your hands are contaminated. You could turn the handles with your mouth, but that would be a fatal mistake.

Question: What’s the most common thing people touch with unwashed hands after pooping?

Answer: The bathroom sink! (other acceptable answers include the toilet seat, the soap and/or soap dispenser, and the toilet-flushing lever.)

Are you starting to get an idea of how deep this conspiracy goes? The one place we rely on to rid ourselves of germs is actually the most germy! The lever you pushed down with your toe? It has contaminated your toe, and your toe will contaminate everywhere you walk until it’s sterilized. How fucked up is that?

Anyway, my point is this: if the bathroom sink handles are already contaminated, you have nothing to lose by handling them with contaminated hands. Ergo, the most logical course of action at this point is to use your microscopically tainted hand to turn on the water and access the soap.

By now you should realize that you are contaminating the hell out of the soap and the basin of the sink. Yet these things, like the rest of your bathroom, are probably already crawling with poop germs. And if you like virtually everyone else use your bathroom and then proceed to move about the rest of your home, you have trafficked these poop germs everywhere from your dining room table to your pillowcase.

I know, I know… it’s awful. But it’s the truth, and as bad as it sounds, becoming aware of this bleak reality is the first step toward remedying it.

But back to more pressing matters: you still have a film of poop on your hand that needs purging. Using soap and water, lather and rinse your hands no less than ten times. Doing this will remove a great deal of the contamination. However, by rubbing your hands together, the remaining germs will now be equally divided between both hands.

The soap has now been tainted; throw it in the garbage for later disposal. Make sure it doesn’t touch the top two inches of the trash bag lining the trash bin; eventually you will need to touch this part of the bag when disposing of it and its contents, and it would be tragic if you were to recontaminate your hands in doing so.

Now then, If have done everything I’ve said, you will have killed about 99% of the germs on your hands.

Ignoramus sez: “Alright, looks like I’m golden!”

Wrong again, Ignoramus! Remember that there are billions of germ particles in a single speck of poop. Also remember that all it takes is two germs to have germ babies and populate your body with their disease. What is one percent of a billion? A fucklot more than two.

So now both your hands are 1% contaminated. What now? What now is that you must soak your hands in ethanol, a volatile substance that kills germs a lot better than soap.

Remember the germ played by Lawrence Fishbourne in that one movie?

You guessed it: killed by ethanol.

To sterilize your hands with this magical chemical, empty six bottles of it into two buckets (three bottles each). If you don’t own six bottles of ethanol and/or two buckets, go to the store and buy thirteen bottles of ethanol (and buckets if you need them). You will need the extra seven bottles because by going to the store to buy ethanol you will have contaminated your car, your keys, your doorknob, your wallet, your pocket, and the store.

Now then, back to the task at hand (pun!): once you have successfully filled two buckets with six bottles of ethanol, dispose of the contaminated empty bottles following the same procedure from when you disposed of the tainted soap (remember: two inches f garbage bag untouched). Next, plunge your hands into one of the two buckets and soak them for fifteen minutes. When you are finished, dump the contaminated bucket and its contents somewhere where you won’t have to deal with it, possibly in a neighbor’s trashcan. Then soak your hands in a clean change of ethanol (the second bucket) for an additional fifteen minutes. Dispose of the second bucket and its contents accordingly. If you contaminated your car and other things by going to the store, use the additional seven bottles of ethanol you bought at the store to sterilize them. Then go to a different, uncontaminated store to buy five hundred more bottles of ethanol for sterilizing your bathroom and the rest of your house (dining room table and pillowcase, remember?) Don’t forget to sterilize all your clothes, furniture, food, appliances, and the terrain leading from your driveway to your front door.

That's it! You are now germ free! Remember to keep several bottles of ethanol on hand for sterilizing your bathroom every time you poop, lest the vicious cycle should reoccur!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very funny and informative! Thank you, my boys and I enjoyed the read.