When I was a small child my dear mother taught me the practice and value of washing my hands. “Hello group, my name is Paul. I am a handwasher.” I regularly wash other body parts as well and have been doing this all of my life. Before the CDC recommend it and after this is all over, I will still wash my hands. My dear mother also insisted that I always wear clean underwear in the event of a car wreck. Never understood the connection there, but I don’t understand the connection between this virus and the run on toilet paper or that fact that I have always carried an elephant charm. Come to think of it, I have never been stampeded by elephants.

Recently instructions have been continually repeated on practices that should be followed for the control of the circulating virus. Upon hearing the three-step process, I began checking off the list. Handwashing, check. Social distancing, check. Not real fond of people anyway; that doesn’t apply to all people, but I certainly don’t like crowds. When I was a teenager it was a continual worry for my dear mother because I was insisting on being a hermit. Getting off of the grid was certainly a desire of mine. Isolating ourselves, the goodwife and myself, isn’t a problem. However, I now see the extreme value of choosing well when you choose a mate.

There was one more thing on that list, oh yes, don’t be touching your face. This one seems simple at first, but little did I realize how much of my persona is built on body language utilizing my hands and face. There is the thoughtful pose as expressed by the sculpture “The Thinker”, the sophisticated, aloof stroking of the beard, the sinister twirling of the moustache, the “Home Alone” two-handed cheek slap surprised look, the “chicks think I’m sensitive” blotting of the tears, the plucking of the nose hair that brought on the tears, and the ever faithful five-year old nose picking. Since I talk with my hands, taking these off of the table will put me in a speech quarantine.

Not touching my face proves a difficult task. Concern about my struggle with compliance, I began to study a variety of ways that I could pursue behavioral modification. Every possibility seemed to create more problems. Everything from duct tape to strapping each hand to individual goats was considered. A very thorough analysis produced charts and graphs and pages of comments in triplicate. Then inspiration struck!

When my grandson was a pre-teen, he asked for and received a set of giant “Hulk” hands for Christmas. At the time I thought, “There’s a toy that won’t last long. How are these useful at all?” Hands could be inserted in to each giant clenched fist and when hit together or smashed into something they emitted a crashing sound. Well, I stand corrected. Apparently, someone had a vision for the future, and these are useful after all. I’m now in search of some giant “Hulk” hands!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column fr The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.