Unless, of course, you don't touch anything.

Thankfully, stadiums make this easy to do. Doors usually are propped open. Newer arenas feature hands-free, infrared flushing devices; in older ballparks, the timeless foot-to-handle move works just fine. Outside the stall, urinals make flushing a quaint but unnecessary luxury, while trough situations -- the less said of those, the better -- rule it out entirely.

In and out like a washroom ninja, never moving your hands more than 10 inches from your waist? I've done it myself. Entirely possible.

Desirable, too, considering the smell.

Rule of unwashed thumb: the less time spent in arena bathrooms, the better. Especially after the third quarter, unless you fancy the eau de soggy lawn fertilizer.

Beyond repugnant odors, there's the sticky-slick splatter on the floor (please, God, let that be urine). The kid who slows the line because he's too scared to pee. The loaded dude who could set off a breathalyzer from across the room … yet is blithely content to exhale in your face.

Then there's the sink itself.

Jorge Posada & Mariano Rivera
AP
Mariano doesn't mind shaking Jorge's hand -- and he knows what Jorge does.

Nietzsche once said that when the truth is shallow, the enlightened man dislikes wading into its waters. Ditto for the shallow waters of a stadium sink. Clogged and wet, loaded with loogies, surrounded by indeterminate bits of towel and tissue, they're the last place a faint-of-heart, hygiene-conscious individual wants to stick his hands, elbows or any other bodily appendage.

Honestly, it wouldn't be surprising if Michael Douglas' head emerged from the murky, backed-up water -- eyes crazed, hair slicked back like Gordon Gekko.

The horror. Oh, the horror.

As for soap dispensers? Forget it. Hybrid cars are refilled more often. Perhaps the fearless Soap and Detergent Association can crack down on that. Or maybe they can do something about the paper towels, which always seem to have entered the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Just once, I'd like to dry my hands without: (a) missing the play of the game while grappling with an underpowered air dryer; (b) using my pockets; (c) staring wistfully at the crumpled paper towels overflowing from the trash, a single, noble tear running down my cheek.

Also remember that while oft-touched bathroom objects -- like, say, a faucet handle -- harbor germs and disease, urine produced by a healthy person is both sterile and nontoxic. This isn't "Alien"; a few errant drops aren't going to melt through the floor. Or your fingers.

To the contrary, baseball stars Moises Alou and Jorge Posada intentionally whiz on their own hands. The reason? Better batting grips. According to Posada, urine "keeps your hands from getting callused and cracking."

Hmmm. Seen any recent studies sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, decrying an epidemic of cracked, callused hands?

Me neither. Now we know why.

As for the AMS/SDA's hand-wringing over hand-washing, it's much ado about very little. Do icky male sports fans neglect to wash up? No doubt. Thing is, we have some good reasons. And not just in Atlanta.

Continued...


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