Mind your bathroom manners
Irecently bumped into a former colleague in the men’s room. As I was about to shake his hand, I heard an Oscar Pistorius-like scream. Turning around in surprise, I saw the cleaner, his face contorted as if he was under the vice of the Angel of Death.
My former colleague was never a nice guy. As far as he was concerned, the earth revolved around his pelvis. Pity there’s no toilet big enough to flush down a big man like him because he really does belong down the tubes.
The screaming didn’t bother him. He took it as an opportunity to skip the pleasantries.
“Eish,” said the toilet cleaner. “No man, there is nothing wrong. I just didn’t want you to shake that man’s hand.
“He was in the toilet for some time. I heard sounds and smelt some smells, but when he came out, he didn’t wash his hands. So I just thought ... mmhh, cholera, and decided to distract you.”
I was stunned by his words. As a defence mechanism, I broke into uncontrolled laughter. The cleaner didn’t stop there. Seeing that I was enjoying his toilet gossip, he went on to name the big sirs who didn’t wash their hands after using the toilet.
“I don’t understand this whole thing because there is no charge for washing one’s hands,” he said passionately.
“I mean ... if you touch anything that’s hidden behind the zip, that’s it, you must wash your hands. That’s hygiene.”
You would think everyone knows that, especially the good and the great who occupy high office.
We always assume power comes with knowledge and that some positions in business can only be attained by those with unparalleled wisdom. Wrong. Monkeys do climb to the top of a tree.
You would think everyone knows and observes personal hygiene in business. You would think everyone knows being late for a meeting is as bad as not washing your hands. You would think everyone knows that being late means you have no respect for the people you are dealing with, the business or yourself.
You would think that someone who calls himself an entrepreneur would be at work before everyone else. You would think someone who has just started a business would not fly business class because it is too expensive.
You would think people who plant trees have a long-term view and founders do not squander their wealth on vapourware. You would think they save, save, save. But that would make life too simple.
Germs have to be invisible so they can kill us easily. Unwashed hands are not colour-coded. The white shirt and a blue tie make all simple Simons look like clever Dicks, and crooks don’t grow horns on their heads.
Because nothing is as it seems, hold on lightly to the promises men make. Always believe the weather reporter ahead of the economist and treat the preacher as you would a travel agent. Believe in the paradise he is promising, but don’t pay too much.
Remember, haemorrhoids and raw deals are part of life so when you get your share take the cure, no matter how painful. Money might buy you many a thrill, but thrills will never equate to happiness. Learn to differentiate between your friends and those who’ve befriended your money.
Enjoy the comedy of life. Laugh at short men, laugh at tall men, laugh at the dumbness of the human race but most importantly, laugh at yourself. Whatever you do, young man, never laugh at women and always take care of your hygiene. Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive,
an advertising agency