There are some doors man was never meant to open — not with just-washed
hands, anyway. Vast e-mail bag on this, with answers all over the place.
[From Paul Evans, who teaches bacteriology] You are correct. … Zip up,
and back away cautiously, is epidemiologically sufficient.
[From Dave Ouzounian] I always heard, John, that you could tell what a
person really valued by watching when he washed his hands. For example, I
wash before handling my irreplaceable LP records. Along those lines, the
joke I once heard was that an Englishman washed after Number 1, and the
French washed before.
[From Anon.] Derb—I cannot focus on whether it is better to wash before
or after going to the bathroom because I sit here at my desk seething with
rage — make that inchoate rage — over the Abu Ghraib atrocities.
[Likewise] I’m not a physician, I’m an economist, but I worked in the
public health field for ten years in Indiana and Minnesota, and I can tell
you I wash
my hands about five times as often now as I did before I started hanging
around with doctors all day.