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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/11

In Case You Missed this...

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In case you missed this (and unless you happen to live in the Baltimore area and are one of the few who still reads the "local rag", Baltimore Sun) you probably did.

What you missed was an article on the front page titled, "A sanitized handshake at graduation." [1]

Being so prominent on the front page it caught this reader's eye and as I began reading further I began to shake my head. Why?

Well it seems a professor and researcher at the "prestigious" Johns Hopkins University and School of Public Health (who shall remain anonymous for this piece) had conducted a study involving more than a dozen college deans who agreed (as a requirement of the study) to swab their hands with a sanitizer before and after the graduation ceremonies in 2008.

This research professor, after having watched numerous graduation ceremonies over the years apparently became consumed with the thought that "scary pathogens stuck to the dean's hands", and something which "was all he could think about" (his words) after witnessing the dean's shaking the hands of graduates as they came up to be congratulated to receive their degree.

As it turned out his fears were unwarranted. His study, recently published in the June issue of "Journal of School Nursing", found "only one dangerous bacterial pathogen per every 5, 209 on someone's hand." Facetiously I thought, "What a relief".

But seriously, some thoughts kept reoccurring in my head. "Why is a professor at one of the premier research universities in the country doing such an inane study to begin with? "Shaking hands" at graduations and worrying about disease being spread; is this the type of research our universities were now engaged in? "Handshakes" and pathogens being spread as a result; "Are you kidding me!?

From here a firm handshake at a graduation was a sign of recognition for a job well done.

In a greeting with someone a handshake was a sign of character (or lack thereof). A "dead fish" handshake from someone always brought a question to this hand shakers mind. I thought "there's not much conviction there."

Heck if the mechanic who works on my car did a superb job, I didn't hesitate about thanking him and shaking his hand. I didn't think about whether he had grease on his hands. I was just appreciative of what he had done and just wanted to recognize his efforts by shaking his hand.

Maybe it's a sign of our times where the "frivolous" (research on diseases from handshakes at graduations qualifies) gets prominent front page billing while the plight of people suffering from the economy, the wars we're engaged in, our resort to torture, the killing of innocents in drone strikes and missile attacks et al get buried on the back pages of our newspapers or more likely are not even found anywhere in the paper that purportedly is supposed to be informing people about the "news".

Is this just me and the curmudgeon that resides in this writer?          

[1] "A sanitized handshake at graduation", by Meredith Cohn, "The Baltimore Sun", May 24, 2011

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