Lesson 20: Beware of public soap dispensers

Before the military, I never thought this was something I would have to say.  There is a sort of trust that goes into soap dispensers when you are finished with your business and it is a trust that never crossed my mind to examine.  Call it a lack of imagination, over trusting foolishness, a naïve young man with little to no concept of the potential for human depravity, etc.  It wasn’t until I was deployed that my first mistrust of soap dispensers came to light.  Weird place to learn that kind of life lesson, sure, but life changing all the same.  It was a place where cleanliness was more paramount than ever, yet the means to execute came into question.

I never would have though about considering the environment, location, or questioning who it was that refilled them.  I am sure there are plenty of people that are convinced that soap dispensers are unending, infinite realms of cleansing goo, without any consideration as to who put the soap in the dispenser in the first place, or who is providing the soap and where they got it from.  I know it is not something I ever took into consideration for a long time.  During my deployment in Iraq, I went to wash my hands one day and I noticed that the soap’s color in dispenser.  It was supposed to be blue.  This time, it was blue with a greenish haze to it.  What color do you mix with blue to get green?

I know what you might be thinking.  Maybe they only had yellow soap left.  It is a plausible theory and most likely true.  In fact, there is a good chance that is EXACTLY the case, and I was just overthinking the matter.  If there is one thing I learned in the military, it is that assumption is one of the quickest ways to discomfort or death.  Most accidents or problems I encountered during my active-duty service were the result of assumptions.  Someone assumed the weapon was unloaded when they pulled the trigger and a round is discharged.  Someone assumes an office will be open because it is business hours, only to find out the office is closed for some random or unforeseen reason.

During my deployment I knew who was responsible for the maintenance and restocking of the bathroom buildings.  I cannot tell you who, but I can tell you that they were not overly fond of Americans and were engaged in this work for the sole purpose of collecting American money.  Long story short, the people handling the maintenance and restocking of the most frequented buildings on the installation, besides the chow hall, are not even actually allies.  They are people who don’t really like us there.  Don’t really want us there.  And are probably not overly concerned with the safety and well being of invaders.  I know this is an extreme example, but is it so unrelatable?            

Think about it.  Have you ever worked a job that you absolutely hated?  Have you ever been asked or told to do something that was so disgusting or so beneath you or had nothing to do with your life goals and dreams that it made you more and more angry each time?  I am not suggesting that it is impossible for people to enjoy the job of cleaning and restocking restrooms.  I am advising that more questions are better than less when it comes to your health and safety.  Don’t be afraid of public bathrooms.  Take into consideration that, no matter what or where, using a public bathroom is a risk each time.  It is a mistake to assume that just because it is a soap dispenser, the contents must be safe and clean.  Evil doers thrive on the assumptions of the innocent.  You don’t know what you don’t know.

5 Replies to “Lesson 20: Beware of public soap dispensers”

Leave a Reply to Matthew Glikman Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s