Human Filth

washI’m writing this from lovely Saint Louis. It’s a “far piece” from my home in Puget Sound, but I love it here. My wife and I spent two years just across the Mississippi, at Scott Air Force Base.

I’m here to begin study for my Doctor of Ministry degree, and it’s off to a grand beginning. As I said, I like Saint Louis, and Concordia Seminary has a first class faculty.

The only problem about coming here was precisely that . . . the process of getting here.

I hate flying these days. This trip was particularly trying. I wasn’t troubled by the fact that both my first flight and my connection were more than an hour behind their scheduled departures. (Although they were.) Nor was I troubled by being selected (once again) for a full body scan. (Must be due to using my military ID rather than a driver’s license that could more easily be counterfeited.)

Nor was it because the airline misplaced my luggage and was reluctant to give me an overnight toiletry kit until I insisted that although a hotel would offer me a toothbrush, what I really wanted to ensure I had the first day of class was deodorant. (They got the last laugh by giving me a bar of Lady Speed Stick; let me assure you that the elegant Powder Fresh scent turned more than one head that day in class.)

No, what really disturbed me as I traveled was encountering filthy people in the restrooms I used as I traveled across the continent. By filthy, I mean those disgusting people who choose not to wash their hands. When I observe 50% of the men exiting the bathroom without pausing to use one of the many available sinks, it’s all I can do not to say something. It makes me want to call up their aged parents and ask how they managed to raise such a disgusting son.

I love animals, and just this week I’ve seen dogs, cats, rabbits and deer grooming themselves. They have better manners and hygiene than the pigs I’m talking about here. Yes, they are disgusting enough for me to refer to them as swine . . .  although pigs are only being true to their nature, when homo sapiens are supposed to possess a higher character.

C.S. Lewis was writing about the shortcomings of only doing what is right because it is mandated, but it has a slight bearing on the disgust I’ve described above.

We do not wish either to be, or to live among, people who are clean or honest or kind as a matter of duty: we want to be, and to associate with, people who like being clean and honest and kind. The mere suspicion that what seemed an act of spontaneous friendliness or generosity was really done as a duty subtly poisons it. (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century).

While Lewis is certainly correct that insincerity strips kindness and honesty of their virtuous essence—when it comes to cleanliness, I’m willing to settle for the “forced” variety!

Well, enough about human filth. I just needed to get that out of my system. Parents, please teach your children better than this. And ladies, please don’t dispel my naïve notion that 100% of women clean up after using their facilities.

Please forgive me for this disgusting post, and I promise that my next column will be much more pleasant and edifying.

14 thoughts on “Human Filth

  1. llamapacker

    That always surprises and disgusts me, too. That is why I always use a paper towel to open the door as I leave.

  2. Redneck Garage

    And this is why I use the paper towel I use to dry my hands to open the door to exit the bathroom. I have notice in the last couple of years that many establishments now put a trash can next to the door for this very purpose.

  3. I’m right with Redneck, and I hate to dispel your notions, but lots of ladies don’t wash, either! And may I add a gripe about people who bring a drink or food into a restroom? Yuck! Either finish it first or toss it! And women who talk on their cellphone to their male significant other in the stall next door while using the toilet! Don’t you have any dignity? Even dogs look embarrassed when someone watches them doing their business!

    1. Dignity… now there’s a word someone needs to teach them. Love your comment about dogs, since we’ve had several who were very, very modest about such matters!

  4. A Doctor of Divinity degree sounds fascinating (and time consuming). Sorry to hear about your travel woes, and I won’t dispel your myth (ahem) about the women’s room. Like Redneck, I try to use a paper towel to open the door of the bathroom, but more and more places seem to have gone to air dryers. There’s an interesting/unpleasant episode of Mythbusters that proved that paper towels dispel fewer germs than air dryers, and I wish all places would offer both options — or at least a door that opens out with a push of the shoulder so I can keep my hands clean.

  5. Excited you’re set to explore and poke the brain cells. (and you have the heavy responsibility to keep us enlighted, too….no pressure….but we are sitting quietly…here..waiting….always. Giggles)
    Like you I am really disturbed by human behavior..just cringe when I see young mom and littles barefoot in stores ( just running in for a minute..) This semi tropical area is a delight for all sorts of worms and parasites….we were constantly reminded as kids…
    Maybe the world became too good at keeping people well, that some are to young to remember all the illness (and lack of cures/treatments) and they just assume if they fall ill there’s a quick painless solution – no harm done. They don’t know why – that people stayed healthy by using proper procedures?
    Airports have begun to creep me out. Bathroom…shiver. Even hospitals (wash those hands. wash those hands…it seems to simple – should be second nature)
    Hope your luggage caught up and you are finding the new routines interesting. Bound to be congenial group somewhere to bounce ideas off? Sounds delightful even if it’s difficult, hours are long, and eyes tired.
    (as always love the Lewis quotes – funny how good stuff is always applicable?)

    1. That’s a great example… people disregarding endemic health threats. I’m getting concerned now with the spread of the West Nile virus in the U.S. It’s moving to colder climes, like where we live. And we get tons of mosquitoes due to the large pond on our property. Like you say, many people falsely believe there’s a cure for everything. Just take this pill or get this shot and you’ll be just fine.

    1. Thank you. I won’t have a chance to ponder the ramifications of this honor until I return home from my current course residency. However, I’m sure people are more than willing to wait to learn more trivia about me.

      1. Ha ha It’s just one of those pass-it-on honorary distinctions. I wouldn’t worry too much about the ramifications :) We shan’t be expecting speeches or anything.

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