I can't remember the name of the product or the brand - and to be honest I wouldn't want to give it free advertizing space here anyway (they can pay for it like everybody else). It's a liquid soap dispenser. It dispenses soap to get your hands hygienically, biologically clean. It's no doubt the same stuff they use in chemical weapons laboratories. But this product is different.
You don't have to touch it, see. It senses the proximity of your hands and spits out a little bit of soap for your imminent ablutions. Because, as the advert helpfully points out, soap dispensers are incredibly filthy 'cos they're covered in all the crap and the germs from the last person who used them. So, hey, we've invented a product that never has to be touched by filthy human hands again - once you've installed it into your home, that is.
Yes. Home. Not a weapons lab. Not an abattoir. Not a pig farm (apologies to those of you who live on a pig farm).
Is it me or is this cleanliness thing getting out of hand (unlike the soap)?
In my early twenties - and this is a revelation that few of you will know about me (including my family) as the nature of this beast is secrecy - I suffered for about a year with OCD. I had an overwhelming, ridiculous, damaging need to wash my hands. I washed them so often and so hard that one day, whilst squeezing out the flannel, the soft tissue at the base of my thumb completely ripped through. I had washed out all the oils and goodness from my skin. It was at that point that I began to stop. It was one hell of a wake-up call.
It was tough. I did it without help. I changed job (which helped immensely - it eliminated most of my stress) and I just went cold turkey. Lived with being "dirty". It was horrible. The thing about OCD is, it makes you feel guilty if you don't wash. You could be spreading contamination, see.
To that end, at the height of my OCD, I used to wash the taps before and after I used them. It took ages. Because then I'd have to wash my hands again. And then the taps again. It seems comical now but was soul destroying at the time.
Now I daresay such a revolutionary product as a soap dispenser that you don't have to touch would have been great for me at the time. It would have saved me both time and effort in my futile attempts to render myself and my environment perfectly clean.
But looking at it now I am horrified. Because it is this type of product that fuels OCD mania in the first place. It validates all that an OCD sufferer fears: that the world is dirty; that they are dirty and they are spreading that dirt everywhere via all that they touch; it's their responsibility to keep it all clean.
A bit of dirt is fine. A bit of dirt is healthy. A bit of dirt is inevitable. Our bodies are biologically primed to deal with dirt and to use it to improve our immune systems. Living in a biologically clean bubble will weaken us and make us, ironically, more susceptible to infection from germs and bacteria.
There is no justification for this product outside of a hospital.
And it's a good job I have come full circle and feel that way with 2 wild boys running about the place. Their hands are dirty within seconds of being cleaned. They drop food on the floor, pick it up and eat it without a second thought. And I'm heartily glad for it.
It's healthy. It's sane.
A self dispensing soap pump is one gadget I will never ever have in my house - such things just make me feel dirty. And, insultingly, I suspect that is by design.