Sure, you may know how to wash your hands after using the toilet, but you can be sure that about half the people who used the restroom before you didn't bother, so that doorknob is a Petri dish of filth.

If you use the paper towel as a primitive shield when you turn the knob, or push the door if it's that kind, you're less likely to put new filth on your hands after painstakingly removing the old filth.

This is probably most important if you're preparing someone else's food after leaving the restroom, like, say if you work in a restaurant.

I've noticed evidence of this behaviour at work: little scrumpled-up tissues on the floor by the bathroom door. I mentioned this to one of my colleagues and he explained his theory, (see above). I was a sceptic but having noticed that not everybody washes their hands after using "the facilities" I must say that I'm a reluctant convert to tissue use.

There is, however, one small flaw in the case for the use of paper towels: Recently, I saw a documentary on the TV on the subject of bathroom hygiene, (mental note to self: Must get cable.). The upshot was that the toilet seat is often one of the cleanest places in a bathroom. The door handle has one of the highest levels of bacteria, along with the little handle used to crank the paper towels.

     Another way to get around it is to use the bottom part of your T-shirt or sleeve of your button-down to manipulate the offending area. But, let's step back for a second. Let us forget all which has been taught to us about hygene and social customs. Aren't we a little too paranoid about bacteria? Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is a must, and even I use my shirt to open the door... but bacteria out in the open should be fair game. After all, you'll be exposed to it through the air, why not have some on your hands?

     We need to strenthen our immune system, it's not the filthy ones who get the flu so often if you've noticed. More and more people (especially in lab-condition countries like Japan) weaken their immune system by disinfecting and swabbing everything in sight. When a bacterium does pass through, it goes more or less unhampered in the body, causing rampant infections. Old ladies and people with weak immune systems probably should shield what they have from constant attack. But there is no reason for any healthy individual under fifty to hide out from all the germs the world beholds, put away that anti-bacterial hand lotion before you get yourself sick.

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