The groceries are outside on his front porch, awaiting retrieval. The challenge is how to safely tote them inside?

On the screen is a U Tube Doctor demonstrating one method. The viewer watches, with certain trepidation, as conflicting advice has flooded the media. The concern is the packaging? The food? Covid contamination?  Worry over how long germs stay on cardboard, plastic, metal?

The U Tube Doctor is stressing the importance of the 20 second soap washing. The viewer agrees. When the U Tube Doctor grabs the Lysol and starts spraying, the viewer straightens up and increases the volume. 

“Any good disinfectant will do”, shouts the U Tube Doctor, as he grabs the yellow Lysol, soaks a paper towel and enthusiastically wipes down the kitchen counters. Next, the U Tube Doctor unloads the grocery bags, item by item, and zealously wipes the bottles, jars, cans, and all plastic wrappings with the Lysol soaked towelette. Wipe. Scour. Scrub.

The U Tube Doctor switches weapons.  Aiming the loaded Lysol bottle, he sprays, dousing a baggie wrapped broccoli.  

The viewer stares incredulously at what he deems overkill. “What if the plastic wrap has a leak?” he asks aloud. “Lysol on Broccoli?’  Being highly allergic to Lysol, the viewer recalls the smell and feels his throat constrict. Memory is a powerful tool. 

Exhausted from the U Tube Doctor episode and feeling a little light headed over the Lysol idea, the viewer departs the screen and retrieves his groceries. He remembers that other news reports have emphasized that soap and water work well too.

Placing the two paper bags on the counter, the viewer washes his hands with soap and water and sings happy birthday to himself. The entire song. Twice. He fills one of his double sinks with water, adds some organic apple cider vinegar, as he has always done when washing produce. 

Lining up the groceries on the counter, he rescues the fruits and vegetables and gently places them into the prepared cleansing bath. Any packaging is carefully discarded. Freezer products, not lysoled to death, are placed into cold storage.  

Revisiting the double sink, he again proceeds to enact the hand washing ritual. ‘Happy Birthday to me’. The entire song. Twice. 

After the produce has enjoyed a good 10-minute soak, he rinses and stores them away in their respective nests. He pantries the boxes, cans and bottled items. He finalizes the counter freshness with good old soap and water. 

He suds his hands and sings “Happy Birthday to me’. The entire song. Twice.

Tasks completed, he smiles. thinking about his Self-Birthday wishes. He has had more Birthday wishes in one day than in a lifetime, he muses. Well, almost. 


Thank you, frontline workers. Thank you stay-at-homers.  Thanks to all and everyone for doing your part in keeping our new world as safe as possible. When you do need to suds up, wish yourself a Happy Birthday.