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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

August
14
2007
9:59 am
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So I’m a positive person.  Maybe by choice; maybe by upbringing; maybe by chance.  Some believe you choose your parents before your born, so it’s possible I hit two outta three.

But I’m also cynical.

Now, I’m one to expect the best possible outcome when dealing with potential.  “Shoot for the stars, and maybe you’ll reach the moon.”  “By striving for perfection, you can achieve excellence.”  “You can do anything you set your mind to.”

But there’s a term I like to call “Waynal.”  It’s how anal Wayne is.  In some ways, it’s about being obsessive with getting to the theatre 30 minutes ahead of time or the airport 3 hours ahead of time.  In other ways, being Waynal is an annoying habit of picking apart words in sentences and being overly sensitive to semantics.  Anyone who’s suffered through my inane “corrections” of their speak knows what I’m talking about, and I swear, I’m trying to lessen its impact on my friendships.

Witness this story I heard about on 590 KLBJ news radio:

Study suggests umps make calls based on race

Studies are fun to pick apart.  I’m not writing about this study, but more of how I’m paying more attention to the numbers.  They make this headline, but the actual disparity seems so negligible that I’m thinking of calling “foul” on the headline makers (pun intended).

So then right after the talk radio guys start talking about this story, a radio spot comes up for Purell  Hand Sanitizer:

purell

And they’re talking about how it’s “kills 99.99 percent of most common germs that may cause illness.”  I’m in IT.  I know what 99.99% means and how important those last two 9’s are.  For example, 99% uptime means you have more than seven hours downtime per month, or more than three and a half days downtime per year.  By contrast, 99.999% uptime (“five nines”), is less than 30 seconds downtime per month, or about 5 minutes per year.   

Now, I’m not concentrating on the 99.99 percent part. I’m concentrating on how that sentence will make a ton of people feel real good about Purell’s bacteria killing power.  And I’m also concentrating on the fact that they put the words “most” and “common” into the sentence.  I’m sure they didn’t do it on accident.

Putting those two words in changes the technical meaning quite a bit.  “Common” reduces the number of germs killed, as does “most”.  And since “most” modifies “common”, it could literally mean 51% of the “common” germs.  We also don’t know what constitutes “common”.  So now we’re 99.99 percent (pause) of (another pause) most (super double pause) common.  This could mean 99.99 percent of 51% of 10% of the germs.

So I’m cynical.  And I’m worried a little about the uncommon germs it’s not killing – I mean, if it’s killing off “99.99 percent of most common germs”, then all that’s left are the ones that Purell does NOTHING for, and now whatever bacteria eat and consume isn’t being eated by the common germs that we’re all already immune to.  So now the big nasty bugs get a green field of food, and Purell’s not doing anything about it, and we’re probably washing our hands less and less because now we think this anti-bacterial hand soap is taking care of us.  Oh, and isn’t Purell killing off the good bacteria too?  Seems I’m not alone in this revelation.

Maybe all these cynical thoughts are sparked off by the fact that now I’ve gotten my 3rd MRSA Staph infection, this time on my left arm.  I caught it early (thanx to family urging me to get to the Dr) and they now believe I’m carrying MRSA — get this — in my nose.  Yes, in my nose.  So they gave me some “MRSA Eradication” stuff to throw up there twice a day and they said it’ll probably all go away soon. 

And by “it” I mean the MRSA, not my nose.

Side note: I’ve decided not to post pictures of either the infection or my nose.

And lo, the people did comment thus:

8 Comments

  1. Shawna says:

    I have done the 8-inch-Q-Tip-and-medicine-up-my-nose-thing before. This is not uncommon. Most people, at one time or another, carry some sort of staph infection in their sinus cavity. Some will always carry it and have some degree of infection at any time. I found this out long ago because I kept getting skin infections, too. No worries, Wayne. It will clear up.

  2. whall says:

    Fortunately for me, there’s no Q-Tip involved. It’s just a small tube like Nasonex or something and you squeeze. Hold your nose and swish it around. I’d hate to have the Q-Tip a-workin’ and then a big sneeze comes on.

    How’s that for a Tuesday Visual?

  3. Avitable says:

    It’s not you being anal. It’s legalese. For my business, I choose my words very carefully to give the right impression while also hiding any potentially negative conclusions that can be drawn. It’s good that you’re vigilant about that type of thing, though. Most non-lawyers aren’t and get taken in by something that is clearly (in my mind) a baited statement.

  4. michelle says:

    What is MRSA?

  5. whall says:

    Check out my original post from last year – http://whall.org/blog/2006/09/11/thats-mr-mrsa-to-you/ but in short, it’s a dangerous strain of staph that’s resistant to normal antibiotics like penicillin.

  6. sue says:

    Oooo… I just heard about MSRA – we had a man die in the hospital here locally and they figured out that was the cause. Since it is now October when I’m reading this, I’m hoping you’re all cleared up. “Waynal”… funny. Really.

  7. whall says:

    Yeah, and since this post I’ve had a 4th infection. Not good. Then I got poison ivy, and then an unexplained skin allergy or something where I got these little itchy bumps and boils all over my elbows, knees, arms, legs, feet and hands. Since I’m susceptible to MRSA, I had to take some extra precautions for all these open sores.

    Then of course, on the news I hear about ALL the schools closing in a VA county due to a MRSA-related death and how infected the schools are.

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