The Don’t Touch Your Face game

We have begun our coronavirus training in our house and I am prepared to exhaust all resources.

I am not necessarily afraid of the virus itself as we are a generally healthy household. But, I do think a lengthy quarantine might kill me.

I’m still recovering emotionally from a two-day quarantine we experienced nearly 20 years ago due to the Whooping Cough, and no one in my house even had the infection. Still, my young son Vinnie had to spend the first two days of his summer vacation trapped in our house, a sentence made even more intolerable by the proximity of the neighborhood pool. The poor kid could hear the laughter, the splashing, the diving board boing-ing as they wafted through the windows on those gorgeous sunny days and he could not leave our front porch, by order of the county health department. And, I can’t stress this enough, he was perfectly healthy and raring to go.

Such is the nature of quarantines, when mere exposure can trap you in isolation.

(Although, I have to admit, there are days when a solo-isolation stint sounds somewhat appealing. “What’s that you say?” I’d call out to those pounding on the outside of my bedroom door. “I can’t help you right now. I’m under quarantine.” Then I’d enjoy a stack of good books and a nice Netflix binge.)

But this COVID-19 business is serious, and so I’ve devised a game to combat it.

I call it the Don’t Touch Your Face Game and it goes like this. 

Any member of my household who gets caught with his or her hands on her face will put a colored bead in his or her jar. At the end of the week, the person with the least beads gets to pick what we have for dinner and the other three household members have to cook it, serve it and clean it up.

We empty out the beads and start all over again each Sunday night.

The idea is to retrain our hands to stay away from our eyes — no rubbing, noses — no itching, and mouths – no licking our fingers before we turn a page.

I stocked up on anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitizer and wipes, which gave me a little peace of mind until my daughter Molly patiently explained that COVID-19 causes  viral and not bacterial infections and so plain old soap and thorough handwashing would be a better choice against that particular illness. 

That’s why I came up with the Don’t Touch Your Face Game and I intend to win.

If you’re going to play the Don’t Touch Your Face Game, here are a few rules we’ve instigated as they’ve come up:

  1. You can scratch your nose or rub your eyes, but only directly before and after you’ve washed your hands. (We’ve all seen a dramatic reduction in the urge to scratch because it’s just so much trouble now.)
  2. You can’t shove someone’s hand up to their face and say they’ve touched it. Such shenanigans get you docked two beads.
  3. You can’t sneak beads into someone else’s jar. This is just plain cheating.
  4. You can’t scratch your nose with your cellphone because that’s just gross all around.
  5. You can wear a clanging bracelet on your wrist if you think that will remind you not to lift your arm to your face.

I’m sure we’ll come up with more rules as this game rolls out. But, for now this is what we’re going with.

What’s working in your house?

Our jars don’t look like this anymore because we’ve all earned at least one bead and, just after I took this picture, O wanted the purple beads and J wanted the blue ones so I switched them around. But, this is the gist of our game.
We have some practice with battling back against infectious diseases. Last year, we all had to wear masks when Influenza A reared its ugly head on one of our members.

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