A couple of months ago, one of our writers wrote a particularly crochety piece about what he called The Communal Pen.
The idea was that with all the concern about keeping people from interacting during the pandemic, many establishments – including medical ones – disrupt the cleanliness rapport by forcing you to use the same pen everyone else is asked to use.
Since then, he reports little improvement.
Face it, he said to himself. Getting your name on a piece of paper is so intertwined into our business culture, some people would probably rather get sick than break protocol. Go peddle curmudgeonliness elsewhere.
But this week, at the front counter of a dentist's office, there was – voila! – a solution that allowed people to keep signing pieces of paper to their heart's content with confidence they weren't also infecting themselves.
Next to the receptionist, there were two bowls. The first was gleaming with pens that sparkled and flaunted the name of the dentist's practice. That bowl was marked “sterilized.” The other bowl, which held one discarded pen, was marked “not sterilized.”