Monday, February 18, 2008

On Twittering and Coliform Bacteria

My friend Scott, Twitters. He is the ultimate early-adopter (he bought an iPhone on the day it came out). At any moment on any given day we can find out what Scott is doing, or thinking or feeling courtesy of Twittering. He does this via his iPhone and Facebook. We should feel privledged to know all this. Twittering - all the rage among the early-adopters - is either the most self-indulgent activity in the world or the ultimate BE HERE NOW. I had heard the word some time ago but it didn't enter my consciousness until a couple of weeks ago when the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper suggested his employees take it up. How, I wondered, did he expect anyone to get anything done when they had to stop every few minutes and announce what they were doing?

Famous people, like Barack Obama Twitter: "I am a golden god. Bow down before me former first lady", "Ann Coulter groped me backstage at last night's debate...and I dug it!", "California, you will pay for your apostacy." If and when he becomes president we can all find out what he is really thinking - the first-ever transparent government.

OK, now how am I going to relate Twittering to coliform bacteria? Every Saturday, I get an email from "The Straight Dope". Sometimes I read it and sometimes I just delete it. This past Saturday I read a story about the necessity of washing one's hands after using the bathroom. Like the reader who wondered why he should wash after if, like the old joke says, he was careful enough not to pee on his hands, I have to admit, I wondered the same thing from time to time myself. Well, you can read the article for yourself but the upshot is everyone of us is awash in coliform bacteria. The area between our navels and our knees is a vertiable Times-Square-on-New-Year-Eve of coliform bacteria and every time our hands come in contact with that part of our anatomy, the little buggers jump gleefully aboard ready to explore hitherto unknown regions. So, if you don't wash your hands, everything you touch afterward becomes New Coliform Land.

So now I have a new obsession and feel the need to Twitter about it: "Did David wash his hands before cutting a slice of cake in the breakroom?" "This men's room LOOKS clean but I know that if I sit on this seat, I will be sharing someone else's coliform bacteria." "Angela is looking pretty hot today but I bet her coliform bacteria is just as deadly as Jane's who is not looking all that hot today (or ever)" "I am running out of Purell Hand Sanitizer"

I imagine that I can see coliform bacteria and it's on everything! Happily, we've been sharing each other's bacteria for so long we're pretty immune to it. But what if someone new comes in the office (without washing his or her hands obviously) and suddenly there is a new strain of coliform on everything. "I think I might be getting sick. I should go home and be with the coliform bacteria that I know and love."

Every day, new coliform bacteria enters our world. Did the mailman wash his hands? Did the checker at HT wash her hands? Did the waiter at the restaurant last night wash HIS hands? Wait, who handled the menu at that restaurant? It could have been hundreds and hundreds of people and one of them might be carrying (and sharing) the coliform bacteria that will wipe out humanity and I will be among the first to go!

"Bob is worrying unnecessarily about coliform bacteria." "Bob is concerned that he is not worrying enough about coliform bacteria." "Twittering about coliform bacteria is not making Bob feel any better about it." "I wonder if Scott worries about coliform bacteria - he's an early adopter"

Stop reading this right now and go wash your hands and then Twitter about it so I will know you did.


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