Anthony Fauci Ain’t Touching Your Dirty Ass Hand Ever Again

At some point in a future we can't yet envision, the coronavirus pandemic will end and we'll all leave our homes again ... and likely frighten small children and animals with the condition of our hair. When the crisis is behind us, will there have been any upside? Well, Dr. Anthony Fauci raises the wonderful prospect that we'll never again have to shake someone's gross, sweaty, mobile-Petri-dish hand.

Tuesday, during a Wall Street Journal podcast, Dr. Fauci discussed with host Kate Linebaugh how lockdown-paroled Americans might re-enter society and safely avoid pandemic recidivism.

DR. FAUCI: When you gradually come back, you don't jump into it with both feet. You say, what are the things you could still do and still approach normal? One of them is absolute compulsive hand-washing. The other is you don't ever shake anybody's hands.

I have personally lived in fear of handshakes ever since watching the 1995 Kevin Smith film Mallrats. The "stink palm" scene terrified me more than anything in Smith's body horror film, Tusk. The “stink palm" could happen in real life.

MallRats - Stink Palm [Best Quality]

When the coronavirus outbreak began, there were PSAs released literally teaching people how to wash their hands correctly. What gross-ass world we were living in prior to COVID? I also don't think two hurried performances of "Happy Birthday" is enough to kill the "stink palm." Dr. Fauci prescribes "absolute compulsive hand washing." That requires at least a full rendition of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row."

After Mallrats scared me straight on handshakes, I discovered they were very hard to avoid. It's just not polite. People stick out their hand and you have to shake it. You look like a weirdo if you refuse. It seems like we've been stuck with the handshake for centuries, and there's some merit to the greeting. You don't bow or curtsy. It's very egalitarian.

The Victorians even shook hands and they were otherwise masters of social distancing. But they didn't kiss and slobber on the hand like a common French person. They preferred strong, firm handshakes with a cool, dry hand. At least it's not sweaty. Women also weren't obligated to shake hands with some random-ass person.

"When a man is introduced to a woman she does not shake hands with him unless he is decidedly elderly or distinguished. If he is the husband or brother of the woman presenting him, it is natural to receive him cordially by shaking hands; but it is not good form to do so if he is a mere acquaintance."

Fauci stressed that people should stop shaking hands even after the coronavirus is just an unpleasant memory, like the Trump administration.

DR. FAUCI: Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease; it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country.

Today show host Savannah Guthrie asked Dr. Fauci Thursday morning if he really believed the “handshake was a thing of the past." She's interviewing him from the remote studio in her living room and she's still desperate for a handshake. I'd give up one of my hands to see a Broadway show again.

DR. FAUCI: In a perfect world, when you're dealing with the potential for this terrible ordeal that we're going through right now, knowing that hands and hands to face [transmit COVID], that would be something that hopefully would be attainable, but I don't think it will be.

The poor guy admitted that he thinks people are too stupid or lazy to find another, less contagion-friendly way of greeting each other. This is what happens when you spend every day with Donald Trump.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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