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Movie reviewers warned that watching the movie, Contagion, would make the viewer into a germaphobe.

I scoffed. As a child, I once picked up a Gobstopper off of the barn floor and ate it on a dare. And then bragged about that for years. I was never concerned about germs. They were going to get me. It was part of the natural order of things. And my immune system would deal with them.

Then I got a staph infection and spent nine days in the hospital as doctors tried to figure out where it had come from and why it wasn’t going away.

Still that kid willing to eat a Gobtopper off a barn floor, but now I was an avid hand washer, especially in hospitals.

I watched Contagion and emerged aware, but still not phobic. At first. But I started watching surfaces. I listened to people coughing and sneezing. And I thought about buying those cute little hand sanitizers that come with holders from Bath and Body Works that can attach to backpacks or purses.

I have heretofore despised hand sanitizer as the downfall of civilization.

And then I got pink eye. And I started tracing, Contagion-style, the point of contact. Day 2. Pink eye shows up. What happened to cause Day 1?

I still would not count myself as a germaphobe, but I am ten steps closer to that identity than I was a few weeks ago. The impact of the cinematography of Contagion will probably only become clear when I realize that I’m no longer looking at surfaces and wondering if they’re safe to touch. On a macro-scale, I’ll be watching the sales of hand sanitizer, especially the purse-sized versions.

And I’m going to start shaking hands with my enemies. Right before I sanitize.

Hey, the apocalypse has to start somewhere. Might as well be with the bad guys. (Camera pans in to just the pink eye. It blinks, revealing the irritated conjunctiva).

You know who you are.

(Eye shuts. Fade to black.)

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