I knew a careful lady once
Who read a book by Dr. Bunce,
A wise authority on wogs
That roam about in dust and fogs;
Indeed, he pointed out, all air,
However pure, held germs somewhere;
They clung to door-knobs, crawled on floors,
Inhabited small change in scores.
In fact, there scarcely was a thing
To which some foul germ did not cling,
Ready to leap and work its will
To some poor luckless human's ill.
The lady closed the book and sighed,
And all content within her died.
This pleasant earth for her became
The haunt of wogs, and life a game
Of hide and seek. She joined the band
Of grim germ-chasers in the land.
She scoured and scrubbed, examined food -
Which, thus far, was all to the good -
But when she strove to disinfect
Her home, 'twas worse than mild neglect;
No hospital smelled half so bad,
And then, I fear, she went quite mad.
Her eye took on a maniac glare;
She saw germs lurking everywhere.
She hung up mottoes such as this:
'Ten thousand germs in every kiss.'
She would not handle coins or take
Another's hand for friendship's sake;
Scarce dared to eat or draw a breath
For fear she might imbibe her death.
She sprayed her husband, heels to head,
With crude carbolic till he fled;
But, since she had means of her own,
She much preferred to live alone.
When going into town one day,
Wrapped up and muzzled in a way
Quite microbe-proof, from foot to crown,
A passing motor knocked her down.
And where she's sleeping soundly now
The germs have got her, anyhow…
The point of this sad tale is here:
Better be dead than live in fear;
Better live like a Stone Age man
Before germ-consciousness began;
Better take chances, seems to me,
Than try to dodge what you can't see.
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