There are some people who absolutely defy education. Still, you rarely know ahead of time who they are. In the Colonial days, first-time thieves were branded with a T and those found guilty of manslaughter got an M -- it certainly made it easier to keep yourself away from the wrong sorts of folks. If you ever see someone with an S on his forehead, you've probably come across a mass transit sneezer. Steer clear and carry some Purell.
Some sneezers catch themselves after realizing what they've done. They look around surreptitiously to check whether they've been caught in the act. At this point, I usually smile and give a head wave. They'll make an attempt to wipe off the pole or hand-hold with a sleeve or napkin. On rare occasions, they'll skip town before the posse arrives, hopping off the bus before incurring more wrath. These are probably the same people who publicly talk on their cell phones without actually having another person on the line.
Other sneezers are unaware of their transgression. They will sneeze into their palms and then grab the pole with their now-snotty hands, oblivious to advances in germ theory of the past 150 years. It is these people who need a talking-to, and it is here that Voice of Society Man feels the need to step in.
VoS Man: Are you aware that you just sneezed into the hand that's now holding that bar?
VoS Man: Have you heard of germs?
Sneezer: Are you talking to me?
VoS Man: Don't play dumb. One in six legally documented Americans is without health care and you act like you don't know why.
Sneezer: Why are you giving me such a hard time? I only sneezed. I notice you didn't say "God bless you."
VoS Man: Do you know what they do to mass transit sneezers in Singapore?
It is at this point that Voice of Society Man himself must sometimes make a hasty exit from mass transit, but at least his Point has been gotten Across. That sneezer will think again before taking liberties with our country's fragile medical system.
- ▼ 2007 (28)