Thursday, March 13, 2008

Department of Microbiology

There is a disturbing statistic out there that states that the average office desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and that workers can contract anything from the flu virus to Hepatitis A.

I must have a cast-iron immune system then. I am never sick apart from the occasional sniffle or migraine. I imagine I have become gradually immunised over time to a wide range of diseases because the nearest desk to mine is that of Untidy Guy. I have been exposed to everything. I fear nothing. Not smallpox, not Hepatitis A, not Ebola, not Anthrax. Medical researchers sit up and take note, my antibodies are the key to fighting future diseases!

I would like to see for myself the empirical evidence of the statistic above. If I knew where to get some agar and a Petri dish I would bring them into work, taking swabs from (a) my own desk - the 'control' surface, as it is wiped down regularly with antibacterial wipes, because I'm a bit anal about that sort of stuff, (b) a toilet seat at the end of the working day, before the cleaners come in and blitz the skidmarks, and (c) Untidy guy's desk. Once I have used a long ruler to remove tissues, old forms, envelopes, mugs and old chocolate bar wrappers I should have a desk surface area large enough to take a decent sample from.

Then I would wait and see which of the three cultures grew largest and quickest. I could upload photos here on a daily basis. I could run a book on which dish would have the largest culture within a week. We could have our own Cheltenham festival in the office. Bacteria racing! The new craze, and weather won't mess it up.

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