It is blog posts like this that keep me out of Wikio Religion and God-bothering rankings because they dilute my pious message of Godly things. Then again, posts like this grant me an opportunity to be grumpy - and it has been a while, after all!
Now, I am still young (had I mentioned that?) so can still remember some of the things of childhood. Poking poos with sticks, mucking around in buckets of green-tinged stagnant water that are already inhabited by mosquito larvae, digging holes in the mud with bare hands, carting the festering cadavers of post-mortem sparrows with glee, man-handling worms and bugs, burrowing into one's nose with one's digit, bum scratching, ear-picking - and then the best of it all: tea time. That was childhood for me. Grubby, messy, germ-ridden, filthiness. And then tea. Where I come from, by the way, 'tea' is the meal you eat in the evening (and a drink that the elderly drank), as distinct from 'dinner', or that most bourgeois repast - 'suppah' (even now, I have never knowingly eaten a 'suppah', and 'dinner' is of course what you eat at dinner-time, not tea-time. Get it?). No, tea was our end-of-the-afternoon-before-bed feast.
I know that you are wondering where I am going with this. I doubt you can predict the waffle of my mind, so explain I better had.
The thing is this; childhood is, in my modest opinion, to do with playing with dirt and then eating food. Schooling fits in somewhere and church too for some of us, but dirt and food largely sum up childhood. I can remember once, gleefully carrying the long-dead Mr Sparrow of the family Sparrow around my Nan's garden in a macabre requiem procession (I was liturgically minded at six). Then, I'd be called in from the yard for tea, maybe wash my hands (but maybe not, to be honest) and then tuck in to sandwiches, crumpets or eggy-bread.
And then Reckitt Benckiser (the makers of the soap-thing you see here) come along fill the minds of all parents with dread fear that their kiddies are in mortal danger not from the vile diseases that exist in rotting garden birds, or the bacteria that revel in a cat-poo house - no, the greatest peril to the fabric of our society is, my dear friends, the spout on a soap-dispenser. So terrible is this risk, that if you are a parent of any decency, you must buy a 'No-Touch' Soap Dispenser. Why? So that after poking poos and the giblets of dead things, you may not - before you wash your hands - get germs on them from the soap spout.
Is it me?
And it doesn't end here. Oh no. The makers of those odd bottles of foul-stinking purple detergent that you lob under the rim of your lavatorium would tell you that it is to kill germs in there. Marvelous. Marvelous because only yesterday I was saying to Mrs Acular how long it had been since I last used my porcelain trumpet as a Tandoor oven and baked naan bread in it. Only the week before I had pondered how long it had been since I last served my kids' dinner in the toilet.
I think that we, the buying public, are certifiably stupid. I do. I bet that eight-million sensible folk, with one accord, all believed that the greatest peril to our offspring is in the germs we acquire just before we clean the germs off with the expensive soap that is really good at killing germs off of our hands ... just before we fling a rib-eye in the loo and bob for it like an fair-ground stall. Frankly, I am surprised I survived past the age of seven. Frankly.