Hygiene, worry, fearing the small stuff, how much is too much?
The latest thread on used brushes got me thinking. I am more worried about pesticide residue on my produce than I am about dirt and bacteria. Likewise I am more concerned about car accidents than plane crashes. The statistics back me up on this--I am much more likely to die in a car than in a plane. I recently read Barry Glassner's Culture of Fear, which, while disappointing in several ways, does make a strong point that Americans are sort of neurotic over things that they have little statistical reason to worry about. Am I alone in thinking that used brushes or some dirt on a potato skin are the least of my worries? I suspect the reason why my immune system seems to be so good is because I didn't grow up in a neurotically anti-septic household. Was it clean and did I learn good hygiene habits--yes. Did my parents freak out when I came home covered in dirt with my mouth smeared by wild blackberry juice? No! Do parents nowadays let their children eat food that they find growing wild? Food they picked with dirty hands no less?!
Sometimes I feel very old-fashioned for thinking that a little dirt is not so bad. The current culture tries to inculcate a sense of shame in a person for being willing to use something that isn't brand new, or sterilized, or at least dunked in anti-bacterial hand gel.
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