Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Throughout my childhood, I probably heard this phrase more often than any other.  I was a very “hands-on” child.  If there was a switch I would flip it.  A button had to be pushed.  Levers needed to be… levered?  EVERYTHING needed to be touched.  So.. “Keep your hands to yourself” was bandied about by my parents with reckless abandon.  In their defense, I have a short attention span, so repetition gives you the best chance of getting something through to me.

That being said, I managed to make it to adulthood without breaking anything irreplaceable (that I’m aware of), or experiencing any sexual harassment lawsuits.  I also haven’t accidentally launched any nuclear missiles, although I have launched rockets.  I have accidentally turned off the power to things for which power was important.  C’est la vie, right?

The only thing I heard more often than “Keep your hands to yourself” (KYHTY) was in the same vein.  “Put your hands in your pockets” (PYHIYP).  Although usually it went like this…

hands in pockets

*I reach out to touch something.*

Parents: “Keep your hands to yourself!”

Me: “Okay.”

Parents: “Put your hands in your pockets.”

Me:  ——————————————————————————->

Also, that’s not me.  That’s just a random internet person I found. You know, just because full disclosure and all.

Anyway, the reason I was thinking about this was because for 20 solid years I heard this CONSTANTLY.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Over. And over. And over. Again.

Now PLEASE don’t think I’m knocking my parents.  I NEEDED this level of repetition if this action was something you wanted to program me to do.  And most importantly, IT WORKED.  I mostly kept my hands in my pockets, and over the years pushed fewer things.  If I remember my psychology at all, this was classical conditioning at its finest.

However… sometime around age 20 I was working in my Dad’s print shop helping customers.  Standing there, hands in pockets, talking to a customer, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  OH NO!  THE BIG BOSS (aka Dad).  He said, “Take your hands out of your pockets while talking to customers.  It’s unprofessional.”

What the heck?  Do what? After 20 years of being told to stuff ’em in my pockets, all of the sudden, NOW, with no prior warning, I’m supposed to take them out again?  WHAT IF I PUSH SOMETHING?  Nope.  Apparently that’s not a concern anymore. Life is weird.  When I commented on the rule change to my father there was a brief moment when I could see the gears spinning and then he started laughing.  Good times.

So anyway, I learned a couple of things that day.  1) Consistency is apparently a secondary consideration in parenting, and 2) I keep my hands in my pockets everywhere except at work, because it’s unprofessional.

Anyway, I’m still fairly curious about that will happen if I touch this or that, and for the most part am able to resist the urge (thanks Mom and Dad!).  I do occasionally touch the thing, but they also taught me to take responsibility for my actions (thanks again!) so you know.  Karma evens out I guess?

God only knows what they would have done if I’d been a girl.  How do you all deal with pants that have no pockets?  Or even worse, fake pockets?  What sick individual came up with that idea?  Someone who hates people, that’s for sure.


Welp, my work here is done.  As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome!

Living the dream,

Humble Dave

To wash, or not to wash?

Ok, this is one that my wife and I have a mild disagreement over.  When is it okay to NOT wash your hands after using the bathroom?  I know, everyone’s quick answer is “Never,” but hear me out…

Before we start, I’d like to say that I’m NOT a germaphobe.  However being married to an RN has introduced me to levels of cleanliness I didn’t know existed.  This had the side effect of making me hyper-aware of germ-laden venues.  For example, it’s great that the kids making my sandwich at the sandwich shop wear plastic gloves to keep my sandwich clean.  Next time you get a sandwich, watch them.  They touch your sandwich, the cash register, and just about everything else with those gloves, then go back and make another sandwich.  Come on, what’s the point?  But I’m off topic (again), back to bathrooms…

Bathroom’s are filthy, disgusting places.  Even if they look clean and sparkling, they’re covered in things you don’t even want to know about.  Seriously.  If you flush the toilet with the lid up (or, like most public bathrooms that don’t have a lid), you’re literally spraying feces bacterias all over the place.  It’s gross.  If you touch ANYTHING in a public restroom (flush handle, SINK FAUCET HANDLE, door handle, paper towel release handle thingy) congratulations, you have someone else’s poop on you.

Now obviously 99% of the time you’re going to want to wash your hands after you use a restroom.  If you really care about it, you’re going to use the paper towel with which you dried your hands to turn off the faucet (remember, you and everyone else turned it on with your filthy germ covered hands) and use that same paper towel to open the door.  Otherwise you have literally negated all the benefits of washing your hands anyway.

But what if you could get in and out without touching ANYTHING.  This one’s more for guys.  Ladies, you definitely have it tougher than us, which is why your bathrooms are fancier, with nice wallpaper, flowers, incense burning, couches to rest while you wait, etc.  I’ve never been in one, but I assume they all look like this:

ladies bathroom.
The men’s room most often looks like this:

mens bathroom
Some bathroom’s (like in parks, airports, and sports arenas,) have no doors, just a short hallway to enter.  What if I can walk in, use the urinal, and walk out without coming into contact with anything in the bathroom.  We’ll assume, for the sake of argument, that I managed not to urinate on myself.  We’ll also assume that I showered, and all the parts of my body are clean.  So here’s the question:

Do I wash my hands, or do I walk right out?  If I touch the sink faucet I’m immediately worse off.  My opinion is that the more hygienic move is to leave without touching anything.

These are the thoughts and mysteries that rattle around in my head.  It’s a weird place.  Sound off in the comments if you agree, disagree, or have other ideas.

As always, you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave