Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breaking Bad Habits at a Not-So-Tender Age

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," lieblings! My name is Anne Johnson. With Facebook on the rampage against "pseudonyms," I'm glad I got dealt such a generic monicker.

OOOPS! I did it again. I put my hand on my face.

Maybe I'm the queen of this habit. I rub my eyes, I rest my chin in my palm, I scratch my nose, I use my fingers to apply makeup. Second nature. I've had my hands up to my face since babyhood. Maybe you have, too.

Where are my hands otherwise? Grading student papers. Opening classroom doors. Brushing desks. Handling the utensils on the salad bar. Today I will probably have to turn off six or seven student computers, because my last class of the day is my most childish, and they don't pay attention. Honestly, by the end of the school day -- even if I've washed up two or three times -- my hands are grubby. Then, it being allergy season, I rub my eyes. Tissues? I've never had tissues handy, in times of crisis or otherwise. My dad always lent me his handkerchief that he carried in his pocket, like all gents of the Greatest Generation did.

Forget ebola for a moment (as if). We all need to keep our hands away from our faces. This is just practical hygiene. But for some people, like me, with entrenched face-palming behavior, this means breaking a longstanding habit.

How do I break a habit that is second nature? I probably do the face-palm dozens of times a day without even noticing. My dad, with his dad-smelling cotton handkerchiefs, is in the Summerlands with the faeries. He can't help me now.

I'll admit to being paranoid about infectious illness. My daughters are too. Could this have a supernatural component? I'm almost certain my great-grandmother died of influenza. What else would have killed a woman in the prime of life in 1918?

Well, beautiful Great-Granny, I am going to try to keep my mitts out of my mug. I'm going to make a conscious effort.

It's going to be tough. Send me gentle reminders, won't you?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I have this same issue. Frequent applications of hand sanitizer can lessen the dangers, I've found. But never eliminate them.

Maebius said...

I recommend cultivating a culture of "Jazz Hands". if your mitts are busy being Dramatic, they won;t be facepalming as much. ... or something. :D

Anonymous said...

So much of what we do with our hands is unconscious. I believe this unconsciousness is what is behind the transmission of Ebola in people who should know better. I work in dentistry, and I see it everyday. One habit we have acquired that has helped a lot is every time we come home from anywhere, the first thing we do is wash our hands. It cut down on the colds a lot.
If you take care of yourself so you keep your resistance up and cut down on the exposure to germs but don't cut it out completely, most of the time your immune system will take care of you.

Anne Johnson said...

Yes, Kim, I was just thinking that cutting out germs completely is just as bad in its way as courting them. There was some study about kids eating dirt ... they grew up healthier. This is a blog, so I don't have to find a source.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's why kids who are raised with dogs are less likely to have allergies.