Hands. Touching Hands. Touching Me. Touching You… And the Loo.

If you’re unwilling to put your hands in your mouth, wash your hands before using the bathroom.

I don’t understand it why we, as a culture, prioritize hand washing at the conclusion and not at the beginning of bathroom excursions. The genitals and surrounding areas have to be the cleanest parts of the body. Shower-washed and wrapped in clean cotton for most of the day, it’s a pretty sanitary place. The world at large, not so much.

Paradoxically, we handle our most sensitive bits with our most promiscuous body part: our hands. Hands that have rubbed public railings, opened doors, manhandled money. Hands that have tied shoes, rode the subway, scratched butts. Hands that have touched nearly everything in reach. These hands store all that residue and apply it directly to the most bacteria-friendly area of the body: the crotch.

And yet, we’re trained to wash our hands only after we use the bathroom as a courtesy to the rest of the world. Though the world thanks you, this makes no sense.

So, I’m declaring the Mouth Hand Rule: handle your naughty bits only if you’re comfortable, at that very moment, with putting your hands in your mouth. (For those with special friends, think also about why this is a courteous gesture.)

In general, you’ll fail the test. So, wash your hands, use the toilet. In that order. If applicable, wash your hands again.

Integrity now!

There are too many “Sorry I missed your birthday” cards. This bodes poorly for society. 

Since when did breaking commitments become acceptable social practice? The market for witty proxy apologies is booming.* Diligent and timely communication, thanks in part to cellphones and text messages, gives way to half-assed correspondence and lackadaisical relationship management. 

Enough, already!

For the sake of brevity, let’s get to it:

Gruen’s Rules of Integrity. 

  1. Rule: If you say you’re going to do something, do it… even if at great cost to you.
  2. Rule: If you must break Rule 1 for whatever reason, notify any relevant parties immediately.
    The broken commitment may be due to unforeseen circumstances or prohibitive cost– the reason is less important than the effort. People can sense insincerity.
  3. Rule: Make up broken commitments as soon as possible.
    Be extra sure not to break that one.
  4. Rule: Number 2 is the exception, not the rule.
    If you find yourself breaking commitments often, stop making commitments that you will likely break. Learn why you do this, and fix it.
  5. Rule: Being “flighty” is not an excuse.
    However, pragmatically, it is OK to break commitments with flighty people after they have personally demonstrated their flightiness to you. With these individuals, it’s OK to make other commitments provided you inform the third party of the situation. 
  6. Rule: Don’t overcommit. Say No.
    Committing to everyone means committing to no one. It’s OK to say ‘no’, or ‘no for now’. 
  7. Rule: Be Honest.
    Don’t lie. Though, there’s no obligation to speak the entire truth or offer information. 

Succinctly: Be Considerate.

More on this later. (And you can count on that.)


*Don’t believe me? Visit your local card store or pharmacy and take notice of “regret” cards.