Perhaps, like me, you were taught the basic rule of handwashing as a child: to soap up and rinse as you sing the “Happy Birthday” song. But as coronavirus continues to sweep the planet, placing 16 million people in Italy under quarantine, instigating a state of emergency in NYC, and festering on a cruise ship set to dock in California, and the only major recommendation being offered by WHO and the CDC is to wash hands as much as possible, the internet has come to the rescue the best way it knows how: with handwashing memes.
After all, the forthcoming epidemic means a LOT more hand washing, and we are bound to get sick of the birthday song after awhile. And anyway, that’s just the white American birthday song — has anyone been using Stevie Wonder’s version? (I just timed it; it’s basically the length of the first repeating chorus, but you need to be a little bit extra about it.) On the scarily real chance that there are folks out there who do not know how to wash their hands (assuming they are among those lucky enough to have regular access to clean water and soap), the internet is now offering a fine array of handwashing accompaniments to tailor your disease prevention to your personality.
At least one corner of the action appeared to start over on Twitter with Todd Dillard, who provided the consummate template for channeling social rage into better health practices.
Dillard also provided the meme template and few more Gen X/Y-friendly options:
— Starting to think Brutus *isn’t* an honorable man… (@20002ist) March 5, 2020
But what about country fans?
i gotchu pic.twitter.com/aEhkUDFmjX
— todd dillard (@toddedillard) March 5, 2020
What about Catholics? Wash your hands in the blood of the lamb, but do not join hands in prayer!
Our ever resourceful Director of Music @magdalenoxford @MagdCollChoir has issued the following hand washing guidance to the choristers. Sound. pic.twitter.com/VNPA7quWQd
— Andrew Bowyer (@AndrewBowyer4) March 9, 2020
We Star Trek nerds have less to worry about than most, in terms of surface contact with other human beings.
Safe Handwashing Mantra for SciFi fans #StarTrek pic.twitter.com/6jpDajCBPr
— Miss Poppy (@misspoppy3p) March 8, 2020
Okay, but what about theater nerds?
Forget singing in Happy Birthday twice: THIS is what you recite to tell you how long to wash your hands. H/t @ninjalampie pic.twitter.com/TjXMZCQbt2
— Reduced Shakespeare Company (@reduced) March 3, 2020
What about bad seeds?
It’s OK everyone – I’ve sorted out the handwashing thing once and for all… pic.twitter.com/Xab1yRoIbT
— Stuart Taylor (@stuartctaylor) March 9, 2020
Indeed, the internet is rife with helpful tips and song suggestions, encouraging us all to wash our hands with a song in our hearts.
you’ve all heard that one of the main things we can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to wash our hands frequently for 20 seconds.
happy birthday can get boring so i present: taylor’s greatest 20-second hits to wash your hands to
spread the word, not germs! pic.twitter.com/raGNRW3BbL
— JEN (@inallmydreams13) March 5, 2020
Remember not to take unnecessary risks, but let’s not descend into panic. If that’s hard to keep in mind, this will help:
To give credit: the Lady Macbeth version was created by Fossilheads, http://www.fossilheads.co.uk, a British folk/theatrical duo who “put the ‘oooh’ back in existential dooom” by singing satirical eco/political songs about the climate crisis.
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