Cough This Way
The Obama administration, in particular the Centers for Disease Control, wants the American people to be ready for the second wave of swine flu that will come with the fall flu season. They've got all sorts of guidelines for what and what not to do. Most make sense. If you feel sick, stay home. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. But there is one recommendation that has driven me completely nuts: "cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available)."
Shirt sleeve? Elbow? Gives a whole new meaning to "nuclear arms."
Look, I give the CDC credit for urging people to use a tissue. But there is NO excuse for the sleeve/elbow option. Not when there is another that is as timeless and chic as it is practical: the handkerchief. That square piece of white cotton that goes in your trouser pocket. Now, don't confuse the handkerchief for the pocket square. The latter can be made of cotton, linen or silk and has seen a popular resurgence thanks to Mad Men. But it is strictly decorative. Thus, you'd be well within your right to give someone a beat-down if they reached for your Hermes pocket square to snuff a sneeze.
In the old days, a handkerchief was a standard part of a man's wardrobe. There's a great scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 film "North By Northwest" where Cary Grant is given a basic change of clothes after outrunning some killer crop dusters. He neatly slips the handkerchief into his pocket.
Today, it's a forgotten option. And yet just think about the handkerchief's potential. On days like today when the temperature and humidity have you sweating like a member of Congress at a rowdy town hall forum, you can use it to mop your brow. It comes in handy when you discover that the restroom is out of paper towels. Or when you or a friend spills a drink. Or when you're sitting in a meeting and a sneeze is itching to burst free. But I draw the line at nose blowing. I know that's a quirk of mine. But who wants to carry that around all day?
So, go to a department store or fine clothier and pick up a dozen. You can never have too many. I never leave home without one. With flu season approaching, neither should you.
Posted by: enogabal | August 10, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: iamweaver | August 10, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: iamweaver | August 10, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MillPond2 | August 10, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: iamweaver | August 10, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: grashnak | August 10, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jak2 | August 10, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hclark1 | August 11, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: breehill9 | August 11, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: HarvardMPH | August 12, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fdrew | August 12, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.