From Todd Dillard on Twitter.

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:

But what about country fans?

What about Catholics? Wash your hands in the blood of the lamb, but do not join hands in prayer!

We Star Trek nerds have less to worry about than most, in terms of surface contact with other human beings.

Okay, but what about theater nerds?

What about bad seeds?

Indeed, the internet is rife with helpful tips and song suggestions, encouraging us all to wash our hands with a song in our hearts.

Remember not to take unnecessary risks, but let’s not descend into panic. If that’s hard to keep in mind, this will help:

Wash your hands with Dune, or I will steal your water. There seems to be no official source for this one, but it’s spreading all over the place. Virally, you might say.

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit —...

One reply on “Out, Damned Spot! Handwashing Goes Viral”

  1. To give credit: the Lady Macbeth version was created by Fossilheads,, 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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