So like many universities around the country, mine is presently freaking out about H1N1. I’m mostly okay with this since I figure anything that helps keep us from getting sick with every single bacterial and viral passenger our students acquired during the summer has to be a good thing. I’ll admit though that the constant mass e-mails telling us that we don’t have anything to worry about from the Swine Flu are starting to have the opposite effect. Pardon me for having an Othello moment, but methinks they doth protest too much!

The most entertaining part, however, are the perhaps unintentional messages that certain public service announcements are sending.

See, I have reason to visit the psychology department from time to time as well as the sociology department and I’ve noticed that the public service flyers posted on the various bulletin boards are different.

-In the sociology department, the flyers are urging people to cover their mouths when they cough or yawn, and to cough or yawn into their elbows rather than into their hands.*

-In the psychology department the flyers are urging people to wash their hands frequently, to refrain from unnecessary interpersonal contact, and to use hand sanitizer after touching things like door handles.

All of these are great suggestions, but I can’t help wondering if the administration isn’t sending a subtle message. They apparently want the sociologists to just keep their mouths shut- which isn’t a surprise when you think about it. As for the psychologists, apparently the admin just wants them to keep their hands to themselves.

And all of this just has me wondering: What the heck do they think is going on in the Psych department?

* Actually, I picked up that little habit years ago when teaching preschool. It's a great idea when you think about it, but you feel a smidge silly at first.

5 thoughts on “subtlety”

  1. My daughters have been teaching me the “elbow cough.” Who says there haven’t been major advances in U.S. pedagogy over the past 40 years?

    Re: Psych. As the Georgia Satellites once noted: “Tell me no lies and keep your hands to yourself.”


  2. Just as I’m reading this, building services is doing our once-daily sanitizing of all the door handles. That said, we’re both a H1N1 “test site” (a role whose status expectations are still unclear to me) and having an “outbreak” among students. The initial hysteria here (three weeks ago) has been replaced by Tamiflu jokes and a quiet resignation that we’ll all get sick, sometime.


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