Opinion: Washing my hands of it

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

Last week, an Indianapolis doctor published an article in the New York Times with this startling admission: “I will eat food that has fallen on the kitchen floor.” Pediatrician Aaron Carroll claims a kitchen floor is not that dirty, at least compared to other germ-laden parts of the house. Putting food back on the platter after it was dropped on the floor would be dangerous to my health. My wife would kill me.

Dr. Carroll is the author of two books about medical myths, debunking fallacies like needing to drink eight glasses of water a day, the human’s inability to digest gum  and that eating turkey makes you drowsy (Thanks. Now we all need a new excuse for snoring during Uncle Leo’s war stories this Thanksgiving).

Dr. Carroll’s mentor is University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, known as Dr. Germ, who attained recognition for his famous study (this is true) where he numbered sheets of toilet paper in public restrooms to determine who used more paper, men or women. After his research was published, he was not invited to the office Christmas party. By the way, when Dr. Gerba completed his study, he passed the research paper around the faculty lunch room. Many were skeptical of his germ theories, but they all ended up with his cold.

Both Dr. Gerba and Dr. Carroll agree that the kitchen floor is far cleaner than the arm rest on your easy chair, and still not as disgusting as your can-opener, which is almost pristine compared to your TV remote. Toilet seats are relatively germ-free, at least compared to the handle on your fridge door. If you drop half a tuna sandwich on the floor, you can eat it, but if you want to put it back in the refrigerator, use your foot to open the door. Gerba also claims the most dangerous bacteria are on the handset of an office telephone. In fact, dining off a toilet seat in the company bathroom is actually safer, germ-wise. Bon appetit.

By the way, I just heard that Kanye West might dump Kim Kardashian. I figure that after reading this column, you might enjoy a little dirt.