Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bleach, Grandma Henrietta's weapon of mass destruction

By Denise Malloy, Chronicle Columnist, Saturday, March 26, 2011:

Grandma Henrietta declared a lifelong war on germs. Not only did she slap down a bout with polio like she would have a smart-mouthed teenager, she beat the 1918 influenza like Ali took down Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle.

Although Germ-Vendetta Henrietta wasn't even 5 feet tall in her special post-polio orthopedic shoes, she was the tough-as-nails Gen. Patton of microbe combat. And she would extrapolate his battle philosophy to home-front hygiene by saying that the war on germs is simple, direct and ruthless.

Her weapon of choice - bleach. As far as she was concerned there wasn't a microorganism that she couldn't bleach into submission.

Walking into her house was like walking into an indoor swimming pool where the humid smell of chlorine would sizzle the hair right out of your nostrils. There was no surface that was safe from being deodorized, sanitized or antibacterialized by her vigorous handiwork. Although you could rarely taste her ertwensoep or roggenbrood because the bleach fumes had vaporized the tastebuds right off your tongue, you could rest assured that it was served in a fashion that would earn an "A" from any health department in the country.

But Patton would remind you it takes more than one weapon to win a war. So it's no surprise that ... Read more>>

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