Deep Thoughts: Reading on the Toilet

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Currently, I have escaped the frigid bitter cold of the northeast in favor of the sunny sneaky cold of America's northwest.  Specifically, Seattle, WA.  Having arrived at night, it was only in the jet-lagged haze of morning that I found myself surrounded by white capped peaks, all the while exploring the bright green lawns and snow-devoid temperatness of the city (and suburbs) proper.  And, since being on vacation means giving myself permission to work or not work as i see fit, I hope you'll excuse any delays in the usual onslaught of my opinions.  

Today's post revolves around a disturbing thought that has had me a bit rattled and I can't seem to shake.  Do you remember those cool after-meal mints that you could find either at 24 hour diners or fancier restaurants back in the late 90's early 00's?  About the size of a dime, they had a white brittle mint frosting on the outside with a tiny gummy center.  The gummy center came in a bunch of different colors and flavors (which when talking about candy seems redundant to say, as color = flavor) and there even was a black licorice, for people who hate themselves.

These two in one favorites usually were dispensed from some kind of bowl or container, but every once and while you'd find some new clever mint delivery device.  I remember in college, our favorite diner had the "Bingo-game delivery system".  The mints were all inside a plastic globe that looked like it would be hilariously fun place to let a gerbil run around inside of.  Instead of a small vermin, however, the top had a spout which you tipped downward, turning the plastic globe upside-down, and with the help of gravity, the mints came tumbling into your hand. 

Whenever I saw a new contraption for mint delivery I always asked myself why such a complex "Mouse-Trap" like delivery system was necessary.  I wondered that until the study came out.  

I have no idea if this was a real study or a fake study or a word of mouth rumor or an urban legend or what, but to everyone who heard it, is was fact.  The study stated, very clearly, that when analyzing the contents of those little mints, there were significant traces of both urine and poo.  The study claimed, or the person who told me about the study claimed, that the reasoning behind the findings was that people go to the bathroom post-meal, forgo or do a poor job of washing their hands, and then it is straight to the mint bowl they go.  Again, I'm not positive, but I suspect this study was the beginning of the end for those non-wrapped mint-making enterprises.   I certainly looked at that Bingo-ball differently.  Now it just looked like a floating rectum, waiting to flip its abhorrent contents into my outstretched fingers.  No thank you.

And this bring us to the disturbing thought which has plummeted me into an anxiety I fear I may not be able to pull up from.  If there is a significant fecal content in the restaurant mint candies served at the register,  how grotesque is the fecal content of the screens of our cell phones.  

I know.  I know.  You wish I hadn't said that.  Me too, frankly.  But, we also simply cannot ignore the ubiquity of using one's phone as a distraction while taking a poop.  Cell phones are the new magazine bathroom reading (or shampoo bottle in a pinch).   I would love to believe that we are all cleaner now than we were back when mints became poop-flavored, but regrettably I have no reasonable argument to make on our behalf.  And frankly, the existence of Honey Boo Boo, everything Kardashian, and Buckwild makes me think we may be even dirtier than before (our souls certainly are).  If my completely unscientific but extremely convincing calculations are correct, we are all carrying around poop-coated calling machines.  And what's worse is that right after we dial our friend's number, we place that poop screen upon our cheek and ear, mouth adjacent.  

Is the public health field on this problem?  Will you ever be able to look your iPhone in the eye (i?) again? Probably not.  But, if you are looking for a way to feel better about all this, I have you covered.  

First, find a friend.  
Second, tell or convince them (use your own imaginations here) to lick their phone. 
Lastly, direct them to this blog post and have them give it a read.  

Feel better?  I thought so.

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