From greasy menus to double-dipping, the COVID pandemic will help us say goodbye to some nasty cultural practices.
When the COVID pandemic first emerged, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he hoped people would permanently stop shaking hands.
I'm not on board with that. I enjoy greeting people, and I think a handshake can be a warm way to greet a friend, businessperson, or new acquaintance. It's certainly far better than the European habit of kissing each cheek, especially since I never know if it's two or three kisses. After the second kiss, there's this awkward pause where you're in each others' faces, and nobody knows if #3 is coming or not. (Apparently, in some places, it's four kisses. Enough already.)
Besides kiss greetings, what else should the coronavirus put an end to? Here are my votes:
Blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. This cultural practice should be toast, and we'll all be better off for it. Before COVID, somebody's slobber on the icing was gross enough; now, it could kill somebody.
Drinking from the same cup in church. In some churches, particularly Catholic ones, it is customary for congregants to drink the Communion wine from the same chalice. This nasty practice, which can definitely spread viruses like the one that causes infectious mononucleosis, should definitely come to an end. Protestants figured this out a long time ago with the tiny plastic cups. It was probably mentioned in Martin Luther's 95 Theses.
Using continuous roll cloth towels in public bathrooms. When I was in school, we didn't have fancy things like electric air hand dryers. (By the way, those should probably come to an end, too, as they blow nasty germs all over the place.) When the roll comes to an end, the cloth dangles haplessly like a wet noodle, and people are forced to choose between using the cloth anyway or wiping their hands on their pants. When it comes to bathroom hygiene, disposable paper towels are best, even if that upsets some environmentalists.
Drinking from water fountains. While we're on the topic of schools, let's get rid of drinking water fountains. I have too many memories from elementary school of kids sticking their grimy mouths on the spigot. Adults probably aren't any better.
Touching greasy menus. Nothing quite destroys the ambiance of a fine restaurant than the waiter handing you a menu with stains and greasy smears. Thanks to smartphones, we can just look up the menu online.
No more double dipping. Seinfeld was way ahead of its time. Decades before the coronavirus, we were warned about the evils of double dipping: "You dipped the chip. You took a bite. And you dipped again." No more.
Snuffing out smoking rooms inside airports. I've always been amused by the people who need a cigarette so badly, that they're willing to cram themselves with a bunch of strangers inside those tiny smoking rooms inside airports. Now, breathing in each others' fumes doesn't sound so nice.
Dropping the five-second rule. If food falls on the floor, you've got five seconds before it's "dirty," right? Wrong. Put it in the trash.
I'm sure you can think of many others. Leave them in the comments section.