Off-duty: Master the foot flush to avoid swine flu

Remember the term “Germ Freaks?” Those really anal people who cringed when you reached out to shake their hand or carried a small bottle of “409” to personally wipe the table when they ate out?

With the onset of H1N1, and most certainly the forthcoming H1N2 and God knows what else on the horizon, sometimes I wish for the good old days when the worst of your disease-ridden worries could be cured with penicillin or just shaving the affected area. Now, making fun of germ freaks makes about as much sense as making fun of computer nerds — who now control the world through Playstation 3 and Guitar Hero.

Germ freaks are the new “in.” Suddenly the phobic-ridden Howard Hughes — in the final days barricaded in a hotel in Mexico, walking around with Kleenex boxes for shoes — doesn’t seem so crazy after all. Wait — yeah, he was nuts, but maybe he had something with wearing those Kleenex boxes on his feet.

For some reason this came up in a recent discussion with my Uncle Dewey, who isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the lamp. (He thinks Rosetta Stone is an R&B singer from the ‘70s.) He did make a good point, however, on the fact that every parent should feel an obligation to teach kids about using hygiene measures in public, especially the art of foot-flushing.

My hands haven’t touched a flushing handle in years. I can balance on one foot while reaching around toilet tank covers, locating even the most discreet flushing-handle locations, with the other. (The part I don’t like is having to stretch before I go. Nonetheless, I suggest it for those of you 40 and older.)

Now, I even give great thought to what part of the bathroom door I should push to open it. My choice is the covered elbow. But if that isn’t an option, either due to short sleeves or bruising caused by frequent trips to the bathroom (see “enlarged prostate,”) I give the door a good look.

Look for the worn spot where everyone else has pushed on it. Avoid this location. Use your foot, hip, butt, whatever, but don’t touch that door! Also, begin holding your breath. Get in, get it done and get out. Hold your breath as long as possible keeping in mind that if you pass out, you’re going to fall on the floor and you don’t want to fall on that floor!

After finishing up, go to the sink and boil your hands. This should kill off most of the germs you’ve contracted in the past two minutes. When exiting the public restroom, repeat your method of entry or just kick the darn door open and take your chances. Keep in mind, if you do knock down the guy who was coming in the door, you should probably apologize and offer to boil his hands.

So embrace your germ-freak friends (figuratively, not literally) and remember that the message of doom doesn’t always pan out.

Remember Y2K?

Just keep on foot-flushing.

14 comments Add your comment


November 17th, 2009
7:45 pm

Four words: pocket-sized hand sanitizer dispenser. 99cents. When it runs low, refill it from a big cheap bottle.


November 17th, 2009
8:53 pm

Thanks for the funny tips Officer Steve. Us ladies, however, have a few more things to worry about in there that are far worse than catchingl H1N1 !! Ask Officer Sandi for the details, but have her explain it to you while you’re sitting down, preferably while you’re not eating …

Nukem All

November 18th, 2009
9:13 am

Mall cop one week, local janitor the next.. What’s next, cooking with Steve?? Ahhh a slow day in the Spings huh??…


November 19th, 2009
6:51 am

I mastered the “Crane Kick” for urinals long ago. Mr. Miyagi would be proud. Quite challenging after several beers.


November 19th, 2009
9:43 am

Sorry, but hand sanitizer does NOT work! It evaporates before it kills even the smallest of germs.

Hand washing with plenty of soap and water is your best bet.

Chris Broe

November 19th, 2009
9:48 am

Nick Depaulo (”Boil your hands”)

The Truth 2009

November 19th, 2009
10:36 am

Good article, but the media needs to bring more attention to the AIDS crisis going on in the south. Did you know……..
* 70% of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are Black women.

* The most common method of HIV/AIDS infection for Black women is heterosexual transmission– largely due to Black men on the down low.

In fact over 70% of the women with AIDS got it from sleeping with a Black man that didn’t know he carried HIV, or didn’t warn the women that he had it.

Goodluck to all. And remember, dont buy into the political correct bs thats taking over Europe…. the truth hurts but women need to know it! Teach your daughters and sisters the truth, lord knows they wont learn it from watching MTV or VH1, or even liberal CNN.


November 19th, 2009
3:12 pm

I have OCD and have been a “Germaphobe” since I can remember. I have made it an art form to hover over toilets while peeing (and acutally NOT hitting the seat), foot flushing, elbow opening of the lock on the door, thorough hand washing, and the MOST IMPORTANT….taking a paper towel to open the bathroom door as you exit. I also use my sleeve, elbow, or paper towel to touch any door knob in public, since most people are too stupid to know how to wash their (#!$*)@!(*#)@! hands.

And for all these “hand sanitizer” people – IT IS NOT…AND I REPEAT, NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR SOAP! It is to be used in conjunction with thorough hand washing. I cannot stress this enough!

And if the people I work with would teach their little darlings how to wash their little hands, maybe over 50% of the employees here wouldn’t get sick when they do.


A Germ Freak!!!!!!!


November 19th, 2009
10:08 pm

I, too, admit to being a germ freak, using all methods mentioned here, plus using the fist bump instead of the handshake wherever possible. (In respect to the late, great, Paul Harvey – sorry, sir, but the salute in lieu of a handshake or fist bump just never caught on.) If not, then, “wipe, Sharona!” or more recently. “wipe, Natalie!” My kids have even referred to me as “Monk”, but that is A-OK with me – haven’t had a cold or experienced the flu in over 25 years. You know you’re a germ freak when you keep a list of which bathrooms that you frequent open outward or inward, thus necessitating the extra towel rule if it is an inward-opening door. And yes, washing with soap and hot water is always best, and I have been known to mention to management that the soap and/or towel dispenser is empty. I used to run into a former colleague in the men’s room of the building where we worked and I noticed he was just using water – HUH!?!? “Dude, if you’re gonna wash, use the soap, too. IJIT!


November 20th, 2009
9:28 am

But Rose offers a simpler way to prevent at least this one baseball-capped bandit from robbing any more banks.
“They need to create a new law that you can’t wear sunglasses and hats in banks,” he said.

Ooh, bad call Lt. Steve. I hope your tongue was planted firmly in your cheek for this one.


November 20th, 2009
1:20 pm

I don’t consider myself a germ freak but when you witness all the bathroom use without washing hands you have to take precautions. That is why my six year old daughter has already mastered the art of the kick flush. She also uses the towel method when opening/closing doors.


December 2nd, 2009
3:41 pm

to tell the gross, nasty truth, I don’t wash my hands but once or twice a day, and haven’t gotten the vaccine.

…death wish, or calling H1N1’s bluff? Either way, I’m winning so far.


December 10th, 2009
3:32 pm

I, too, use the paper towel method when opening the bathroom door. I had a running feud with the janitor about where the trash can should be placed, next to the door or next to the sink. After the fiftieth time of him moving it to the sink, I just started throwing the paper towels on the floor by the door. Worked like a charm.


January 14th, 2010
5:02 pm

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