Once, sounding like the MC in a beauty pageant, I asked her, "If you had to give up all but one modern convenience, what would you keep and why?" Without hesitation, she said, "Indoor plumbing."
Not wall-to-wall carpeting.
Not cable television.
Which says a lot (to me) about the importance of sanitation and cleanliness.
Sometimes we have these little nigglings, this little whisper in the outer recesses of our consciousness, that try to tell us something, but which we often can not or can just barely hear for all of the noise that wants to contradict what that niggling says.
Big pharma, our overblown (and overly expensive) medical establishment, and now our too-big-to-fail school system will tell us that the reason we no longer see childhood diseases is because of vaccinations and vaccinations alone (although some - not insignificant - percentage of those who have been vaccinated do end up sick with the virus to which they were supposed to be immune). I won't rehash my anti-vaccine argument right now, except to say that the eradication of childhood illnesses as a significant threat to child mortality happened at about the same time that we, as a society, began to make a more concerted effort toward sanitation, especially in our densely populated urban centers.
In short, I'm not sure that it's the vaccination program - alone - that has resulted in the decrease and severity of these childhood illnesses, but perhaps it has something, also, to do with our society's (over) emphasis on being clean. The thing that makes me wonder about a potential connection is that - as far as I can tell from the information I have been able to glean - cleaning up our cities happened on a grand scale before there was a nationwide push to vaccinate all children, and there was a significant decrease in the number of cases, as we started cleaning things up.
Regardless, though, I just like feeling and being clean. Of all of the things I've been willing to change, all of the conservation efforts we've made, all of the things we've given up, the one indulgence has been and will be my daily shower.
Many years ago I happened upon this list entitled 100 Items to Disappear First. It is compilation of the kinds of things we often take for granted, but that are some of the first to be used up when supply lines are severed. Items like laundry detergent, soap, and feminine hygiene products made the list of 100 things that go fast, and which are very much missed.
A Sarajevo survivor is quoted as saying, "The feeling that you're human can fade pretty fast. I can't tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else."
In the years since I found the list, this comment has stayed with me, and when I read stories of war survivors or stories from extreme economically depressed times, where dirt was abundant, but little else was, I'm struck by how fortunate we are, as a society, to not have to live with things like dirty hair or parasites crawling on our bodies.
One of my big concerns as our society collapses is that we will forget how wonderful clean feels, and my hope is that we fully understand the correlation between our robust health (with regard to how seldom we're stricken with viral, parasitic, and/or bacterial ailments) and our practice of keeping ourselves clean.
As a treat, I have a sampler-sized bar of hand-crafted-in-Maine soap from our local farmer's market and a hand-knit (by me) wash cloth. As usual, please leave a comment.
AND THE WINNER IS ...The winner of the book Sewage Solutions is Fleecenik Farm. Congratulations! Please leave a comment with your full name and address. Comments are moderated and I will not publish your information.
The End is Near ... there are only seven days left (not including Friday) - one week until the end of the world as we know it. I'll be posting - with a giveaway - every day until the end of the month. Be sure to check back, and comment, if you would like to be entered into the random drawing for any one of the great items being offered.