I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to be upset with where America is heading with its more serious approach to germs. George Carlin once called these people “pussies” and that “you can’t even get a good hamburger anymore because they cook the shit out of it”. A typical remark from someone from an older generation might be “back in my day, we didn’t worry about germs like they do today!”.

True, except that now we have AIDS. Not everyone can rely on their immune systems like back in the “good ole days”.

True, some people have gone a bit overboard with their germophobic practices (always using a napkin to open any door, for example). A lot of these practices are due to a general lack of knowledge of “germs” (a more correct term would be pathogen) in general. Personally, I blame this on America’s piss-poor education system and even worse science education. Not all bacteria are “bad”; in fact, even some viruses are good. And if someone touch a door handle after sneezing on their hands, it won’t be infected forever. If it’s a brass handle, it might be sterile within an hour or two. Pathogens can survive much longer on other surfaces like plastic.

That said, I do think if you are on a train or bus or in another crowded place, keep your sneeze or cough to yourself! And remember, what may seem like a trivial illness to you can be much more serious to someone with AIDS or other immunodisorders.

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