Friday, September 04, 2009

Protect Yourself

"I don't want to touch your wine glass, so can you please grab it off the bar behind me?"

So said the barista/tender after she poured my glass of pinot grigio (the shortest pour I've ever seen, by the way) at Hyde Park's Awakenings.

The tender had sneezed into her elbow in between pouring my glass and offering it to me. I got the impression she didn't want to pass on any germs - surely a gesture borne out of the recent concerns involving swine flu/H1N1.

This exchange wasn't my first involving a conscientious effort to avoid a cross-contamination of the flu sweeping the nation.

Last week while at Mass at XU, the priest specifically asked the congregation to avoid holding hands during the Lord's Prayer, and abstain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace. Rather, the priest asked us to bow or nod heads and smile as an offering of peace to our surrounding parishioners.

I've bowed before an Eucharistic minister distributing communion - but a fellow church goer? It was a little funny.

The priest shared with us that each Eucharistic minister would be required to use hand gel before distributing hosts - smart idea in my book. I did, however, think it was a bit odd when he said he had no concerns about germs and people sipping the cheap, Italian table wine blood of Christ.


I mean, c'mon.


It seems everyone is a bit more concerned about swine flu. I had lunch with two gentlemen today, one of whom said he is finding himself a bit more reserved when dishing out hugs to friends and strangers.

On television yesterday morning, I saw a Rice Krispies commercial showcasing a box with "Boosts Immunity" splayed across the front of it. Apparently Kellogg's reformulated its cereals to fortify them with vitamins A, C, E and several varieties of B. The box branding (and commercial voice over) says every box has ingredients that help support your child's immunity.

I can just see it 70 years from now. An old man rocking in a chair on his porch, telling his grandson, "Well, we were spared from the swine flu because Mama made us eat Rice Krispies morning, noon and night."


Apparently WaPo had the same reaction I did - this marketing gimmick is a bunch of bull pucky.

Schlocky marketing aside, swine flu is something we should all consider - especially with recent stats indicating one in three families will be affected by the debilitating illness. Forbes is asking families to consider a plan of action.

Their piece, published today, suggests families not only consider getting vaccinated (a move highly recommended by government officials), but stockpile canned soup, arm children with antibacterial gel and communicate with employers about the possibility of working from home should a family member fall ill.

Lord have mercy, are we bracing for the Plague of 2009?

Guess I'll stick with my wine, short pours or not. After all, the priest says I won't catch the swine flu from the chalice.

Chances are my Reidel is just as safe.

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