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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dinner Report: Bill Miller's, Germs, and Washing Hands...

I don't think I have actually ever done a report on eating at Bill Miller's, but I may have mentioned the fact that I enjoy it quite a bit. Make no mistake, I think Bill Miller's is a San Antonio institution, and even if you can find better brisket or a better piece of fried chicken somewhere else, I'd say it is hard to find a place that is consistent from one side of town to the next like our friend Bill.

So tonight when my wife reported that she had already had a late lunch with our daughter, I decided I would take a short trip down the street and grab one of my favorites, the Baked Potato and Salad special. I think the price is $3.89 and you get a baked potato, and ... well, a salad. But the baked potato is big and it comes with a cup full of bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, and butter. I'm telling you, if there are any health benefits from eating a baked potato, they are surely lost when I pile on the entire bowl of fixin's. The salad is always good.

And tonight was no different. I ordered the aforementioned vittles and as usual, I got myself an unsweetened iced tea. And this is what I'd like to talk about.

At least a month or so ago, I had a tiny little infection in my eye and as we all know, these things get spread when you don't wash your hands. I'd like to think I'm a fairly clean person, but in light of the situation, my wife armed me with bottles of Purell and gave me Clorox towelettes to take to work to wipe things down. My wife used to be one of those certified food handling specialists, so you can imagine she is pretty up on trying to keep things sanitary.

Since the eye infection, I think I have become obsessed with this issue and even now more than ever, feel the urge to compulsively rub Purell on my hands. But it gets worse. I have always been more than a bit creeped-out by hotel rooms and all the disturbing germs that the previous occupants leave behind, but I try to put it out of my mind. I have found that your best bet for a good night's sleep in a hotel is to wipe down things with Clorox wipes, slather Purell over the remote control and the phone, and lubricate yourself internally with enough beer that whatever you ingest while breathing at night, it will be killed by the time it hits your stomach. I haven't died yet.

So, recently, I have decided that when I go to restaurants, I am really interested in what the people do with their hands and hair and faces and clothing while they are making my food. Forget some guy spitting on my burger - at least he can get fired for that, so he is less likely to do it. I know; not really, but humor me. I'm just worried about some guy going to take a dump, not adhering to the clearly posted sign in the bathroom ordering him to wash up, and coming back and fondling my plastic spoon.

So today, as I was waiting for my baked potato and salad and unsweetened iced tea, I casually observed the smooth operation of Bill Miller's staff as they easily handled a rush of dinner time patrons, I noticed two shorter employees emptying the big bucket of tea from one of those 5-gallon paint buckets into the tea dispenser. I don't think it occurred to them that because they were shorter, when they gripped the inside rim of the bucket and tilted it, my freshly brewed unsweetened tea was going to casually graze their fingers up to the knuckles.

And then, I started to look at the girl gathering up some cups for tea. Why bother to use a scoop to scoop up the ice into the cup if you are holding the cup with your fingers on the inside? I mean seriously, why not just reach your hand into the bucket, grab some cubes and throw them in the cup? Oh, and while you are at it, since you have already soiled my cup, no need to handle the drink lid by the edges, I'm happy to have your thumb prints on the inside of the lid. Perhaps the medical examiner will be able to identify you when they do a CSI of my dinner table.

I don't mean to pick on Bill Miller's because, like I say, the food is great, it is consistent and my baked potato and salad was outstanding - Tasty Treats all around, but in light of the fact that there is a crazy nationwide outbreak of this hard to kill bacteria, do you think we could ask our food service workers and especially hospital workers to bust out an occasional Purell dispenser and use it?

A few of the blogs that I often read have noted the recent passing of a blogger called Dr . Syn. I wasn't really familiar with him, but his story is an incredible reminder to us all to be mindful of these germs. You can read about him here, but the gist of it is that the poor guy ran into a door, gave himself one heck of a black eye and ended up in the hospital. It became infected to the point that they had to remove his eye. This is no Halloween joke. After that, the infection was so bad they had to put him into a coma, and shortly after, he died of a heart attack. Poor guy.

So, Bill Millers doesn't get blamed for the death of Dr. Syn, but for heavens sake, let's be mindful of the fact that these germs are often passed from one person to the next, simply because they forgot to wash their hands.

Enjoy your dinner and enjoy all that candy that strangers are passing out to your kids tonight. I'd recommend you use some Clorox wipes on the wrappers and perhaps eat each piece of candy with a shot of tequila.

1 comment:

SAtexan said...

I feel compelled to rush over to HEB to buy some Purell right now!Eeeeewww! MRSA has gotten so bad that some schools in another state had to close down. It's frightening to think of all the staph germs lurking out there!

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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