For a matter of consideration I throw out the idea that we as a society are too far to the left on shortening the meaning/ wording on phrases. I am not referring to the common speak of teenagers of the day which cut out as many letters as possible to save on texting fees. I am however referring to the practice of signs once very clear with precise wording now being cut down to minimal levels of words to save money. For my proof I give you the below picture of the sign which hangs over every bathroom door in my office
As you can see the sign’s intended message is met clearly allowing one to infer that employees are required to wash their hands. The viewer,having some understanding of society and a modicum amount of common sense, would see the sign’s location and infer that the washing it happening after an employee uses the restroom. The problem that I have with it is that due to either cost of space the message is shorted so that you have to think about it. Not that thinking is bad, but honestly you could go any direction with this if you where trying to be literal about it.
For instance whose hands are you washing? Do the employees wash their own or randomly grab someone and demand to wash their hands? I could see (through the clouded shroud of my own madness) roaming bands of my co-workers scouring the cubicles and offices snatching hands away from lunches, or phones, or at the very least the latest internet videos. The horror of it, as the madness progresses and we are left with the weaker of the techs screaming in pain as they try to struggle away from the paper cutter which has been modified to resemble a French revolution ear guillotine. Drawing more fear than the screams is the jangle of severed hands strung loosely via Ethernet cable around the necks of those strong enough to not be put before the blade. Eventually I would assume that rough exchange rates would be established based upon size or finger count, or attached jewelry which of course would lead to trading over the best food stuffs from the vending machines. Give or take the age of a hand I would give a guess that my own would go for a cookie ice cream sandwich with a soda or coffee on the side.
Moving on, another note about the sign is that is does not give a time frame of when the hand washing should be done. Do we do it after we use the bathroom? Maybe we do it before we go just in case you have to wipe and you blew your nose earlier in the day. Again the scenario that runs through my mind is a bunch of techies who do little or no cleaning around their work space given a pass to not wash their hands after use noting to themselves that they can just do it when they get home. Worse case we end up with a super germ which has been passed from gamer hands via keyboard via snotty wipe combined with cheetoes and code red and brough to a simmer with an office internal environment which lacks air conditioning. The hypothesized germ which I have named IT virus (short for internal terror) would most likely eat away at the part of the brain that signals complaints or idiotic yammering about emails not working, which for us as techs is fine but for our bosses it is a loss of revenue and finding a job right now is not cool.
Also leaving the time frame for washing open could lead to a subconscious response to wash hands at random times of the day, such as while riding a bike, or reading a book. In both cases you are going to end up with a bad trip and a loss of personal goods. Worse yet you could be having the sexy times with your partner and boom you have to wash your hands. That leads to awkward conversations about hygiene, smells and the overall loss of personal goods (as he or she smashes your things in reaction to your inability to explain why you had to wash your hands).
All and all I would say that the thought thread that developed when I first saw the sign was fun but unproductive. So I leave it to you to ponder. Should we cut back on wording for the sack of price or space only to end up making the already borderline insane guy begin planning a fair open trade exchange based on the length of say fingernails on the open market?