It's been a while since I read The Far Side, but there's one particular one that's stuck with me - a man walking out of a men's room in a restaurant, with a giant movie-marquee sign above the door, full of flashing lights and ringing alarms, that says "DIDN'T WASH HANDS." When I was young it was funny, but now it's just sad - if only because such signs are not ubiquitous. For guys, at least, it seems depressingly frequent to use the facilities and skip the handwashing entirely.
I can't understand why. Literally. This is something that has been drilled into my head my entire life. It's not as if you're roughing it, deep in the north woods - you're in an office building downtown with soap dispensers right next to the sink. All you gotta do is press down and, zap, there's soap! Right there in the palm of your hand! And yet, time and again, dudes speed through the washroom and at the end do nothing more than rinse their hands under the tap for a few seconds. If that. Is it laziness? What the hell is it?
The benefits of handwashing are not things that have only recently been determined. Anyone alive today, anyone at all, should have learned about it from their parents or in the schools - it's absolutely vital to public health, and if people aren't learning about it for whatever reason, it's a serious problem. We know today that handwashing cuts down significantly on the spread of disease. There is no excuse for not doing so other than your own laziness or cussedness! One of the things I dread now is being in the washroom at the office at the same time as someone I know, because then I can't help but observe whether or not he washes his hands. I honestly find it difficult to respect someone who I know doesn't wash their hands - if they're unwilling to perform an incredibly basic act of personal hygiene, what else might they be unwilling to do?
Maybe you don't think it's necessary. Maybe you don't care that people around you might not want to touch your nethers by proxy. Maybe you don't think there's anything about it that requires a wash any more than touching your forearm would, I don't care. But the fact remains that outside specialized situations, you generally only find handwashing equipment in washrooms. Doesn't it make sense to make the name appropriate, to actually wash - about washing off all the dirt and grime and whatever you've accumulated since the last time you washed your hands.