A Nuisance

May 6, 2008
By Michael Schreier, Omaha, NE

That’s exactly what hand sanitizer is, a nuisance. A nuisance to germs, that is. To us, hand sanitizer seems to be such a normal object. When someone can’t wash his hands, he squirts some into their hands, and gently rub it in. Instantly, he feels cleaner. Sometimes he smells citrus-like afterward. But that’s not how germs see hand sanitizer. To them it’s not only a nuisance, it’s dangerous, it’s toxic. They strive to avoid it at all costs. We face a similar problem in our everyday lives, the bad driver. To us, they’re not only a nuisance, they’re dangerous, a hazard. Most of us try hard to avoid them. They come in many shapes and sizes: the slow drivers; the fast drivers; the drivers that just pull out in front of you when they really don’t have time; the drivers that see someone they know and just stop their vehicle in the middle of the road to talk to them; the drivers that talk on their cell phone while doing the crossword, eating breakfast, listening to music, and driving a stick while in a hurry. Of course, the list goes on. Unfortunately though, following a bad driver doesn’t make anyone feel cleaner, or make anyone’s hands smell citrus-like.

While being a gentle hand cleanser, hand sanitizer is a germ’s most dangerous enemy. It’s more than just a nuisance to germs, it’s a killer. It kills almost all germs on contact. Germs have to be on the lookout at all times. Hand sanitizer makes their life extremely difficult, exactly like the slow driver does to us. Let’s pull over for just a moment to clarify that slow drivers are different than confused drivers. Slow drivers just drive slowly because that’s the way they are. Confused drivers drive slowly because they have no idea where they are or where they are going (Confused drivers are classified as bad drivers also). Back on the road, slow drivers block cars and can dramatically extend drive time. They make everyone else’s life extremely difficult and believe it or not, slow drivers nurture bad drivers. Once normal drivers get around the bad driver, they’re angry and their anger usually turns them into a bad driver for a period of time. Normal drivers constantly have to be on the lookout for this threat of bad drivers, as an encounter usually requires awkward and sometimes abrupt braking. This bad driving habit gives rise to tailgating and impatience at the wheel, two bad traits. Fortunately for us, slow drivers usually don’t mean death like a hand sanitizer means for germs.

Hand sanitizer is quite deceptive. It displays a gentle appearance. But germs know better; as they see it, they scramble for escape, and are they in a hurry! The germs are moving so very quickly that chances of wrecks are almost inevitable. Hand sanitizer seems to provoke these already staggering odds. It only takes a second to spread hand sanitizer on one’s hand. If the germs are fast enough, they’ll be able to endure hand sanitizer’s high speed chase for quite some time, but after a moment, the tailgating becomes just too much for a germ. The good news for germs is a fairly quick and painless death! However, if a driver gets caught in a wreck with a fast driver, he may have some injuries. It is important to note that not all fast drivers are bad drivers, though many are. Regularly driving at about three to four miles per hour above the speed limit does not necessarily constitute a bad driver. Fast drivers are bad drivers when they are in such a hurry that they display little or absolutely no caution in their driving habits. Most of them drive at least five to ten miles per hour over the speed limit and pass cars regardless of whether they have room to do so. Tailgaters are also considered dangerous fast drivers because they are driving faster than they should be, no matter how fast they actually are driving. When a dangerous fast driver passes, watch out! Wrecks are fairly common. The careless driver might not have enough room, meaning that in order to avoid a wreck, one would need to slam on his brakes and hope he doesn’t rear end the careless one. These bad drivers seem to provoke the already high enough odds of a wreck. It’s worse when there’s a tailgater behind the normal driver. The normal driver may not be able to brake enough to let the fast car by without the tailgater in their back seat. Tailgating is dangerous enough by itself because the driver in front of the tailgater only has limited braking capability before the tailgater does hit his back end.

The most dangerous time for germs is the application time. Many hand sanitizers claim that they kill 99.9% of germs on contact. The hand sanitizer just seems to pounce upon the germs, who have very little time to do absolutely anything about it. It is at this time that the hand sanitizer works hardest, and is the most difficult to avoid. There’s another type of bad driver that is very difficult to avoid. This is the driver that pulls out in front of a normal driver when he really doesn’t have enough time or space. The time when the bad driver pulls out is the time when the normal driver has to work the hardest. The normal driver has to be prepared with the brakes, or a crash is practically inevitable, similar to a time of application for hand sanitizer.

There are many more types of bad drivers – a personal favorite being the confused driver, the one that sits in the right turn lane at a stop light with his left blinker on and that ends up going straight when the light turns green. Unfortunately, dealing with bad drivers like these is a nuisance and problem to all. However, we must realize who the bad drivers really are – us. At some point or another, we need to accept that we all have qualified as one type of driver mentioned, whether often or rarely, and we need to look inward to our own driving habits to eliminate the nuisance in ourselves. We need not be worried about getting someplace quickly or driving slowly to kill time. Budget the necessary time to drive places so we don’t have to deal with bad drivers. We are not only good drivers; we all have been a bad driver in our life, and we must change ourselves for the better.

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