How and Why I Wash My Hands

How are your hands different from anyone else’s in the world?

Right now, my hands are wrinkled beyond recognition. I could literally draw a contour map of the folds on my fingers. They make it difficult to type: I’ve just spent ten minutes fumbling on the keyboard (now twelve), even though the words have been sitting in my head for three hours. Three hours stamping my feet in the shower; three hours shampooing my now-brittle hair like a washerwoman on steroids. No, I am neither hygiene-obsessed nor a mermaid. I simply consider the shower my Emporium of Epiphanies; my Boutique of Brainwaves; my Reserve of Revelations – you get the idea. The shower is to me what Archimedes’s bathtub was to him when he leaped out screaming, “Eureka!” This has become a ritual every time I need to write an important piece, whether it be one of my many poems or a college application to the esteemed women’s college I desperately want to attend. Somehow, that blast of hot water washes away everything extraneous to let me crystallize my thoughts into words.But of course, any idea-deprived college applicant can agitate for three hours in the shower and emerge with puckered skin. What gives my hands a different texture lies in the shampooing technique I’ve perfected over the years. With those magical motions, I get that rusty machine in my cranium to really move. If that sounds strange, it probably is, but it’s just my odd way of saying that I do my part to produce the desired mental shock wave. As a writer, I’m fully aware of the effect that my environment has on me and I always want to seek the most conducive place, yet I shun passivity even when these ideal conditions are met. I use these hands to scrub and polish the head and page; over and over, until I produce something I can safely say I am proud of. I want to contribute no matter where I am: from writing seminars to, in my wildest dreams, a certain ivy-clad college in South Hadley. This, I propose, is what distinguishes me as a shower-ee. Your esteemed bathroom facilities and my red, raw, wrinkled hands: I hope I’m not the only one convinced that they’d make one lethal combination indeed.

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