Dear Dr. Boli: This bottle of hand sanitizer says it kills 99.7% of germs. How does it do that? —Sincerely, Louis “Bubba” Pasteur, Paris, Va.

Dear Sir: The active ingredient in hand sanitizer is alcohol, which makes the germs drunk. Once they are thoroughly intoxicated, many of the germs become belligerent and kill one another in colorful furniture-tossing bar fights; most of the rest grow morose and despondent and hang themselves or throw themselves in front of microscopic subway trains. A few simply become reckless and die in accidents. All this would take days or weeks on the human scale, but at the accelerated pace of microbial life, where an entire life span may be measured in minutes, it all takes place within a few seconds.


  1. Dr. Bjorn Bjornsen says:

    What’s all this I’m hearing about “band sanitizers?” I was in the Yellow Cowards marching band at Modesto Junior College and we were pretty clean for the most part, except for Anselma Durocik who used to stuff Ho Ho wrappers in the F-hole of her cello. Ehhh, that’s HAND sanitizers Dr. Bjornsen. Ohhhh, that’s very different. Never mind.

  2. Pamela Hanson says:

    I use an all-natural hand sanitizer that doesn’t contain alcohol. It is supposed to kill 99.99% of germs. The brand is “Clean Well”. It’s supposedly made of essential plant oils.

    • Alan Kellogg says:

      Oils are lipids, which are fats. Essentially what “Clean Well” does is lure bacteria into over indulging in fatty food, whereupon they gain weight until they become morbidly obese, and since morbidly is another word for fatal, the bacteria expire of heart trouble and strokes.

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