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Scott Turow: the Humble Hankie Can Save Us

Author thinks his lifelong practice makes more sense than ever amid pandemic
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2020 2:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Author Scott Turow grew up believing a gentleman always carries a handkerchief, so that's what he's been doing for the last 60 years. Indeed, "my body weight feels wrong if I'm heading out of the house with an empty back pocket," Turow writes at the Washington Post. Friends and family have long thought it was a little weird, but he now feels vindicated in the age of COVID-19. Sure, you might be thought old-fashioned or icky for "blowing your nose in the thing and then stuffing it back in your pants"—complaints Turow often heard from his kids. But "a cotton handkerchief is a lot more durable than tissue, creates no waste and has a far wider variety of uses," particularly in the midst of a pandemic. Behold, "the hankie's new role as an Essential Public Health Appliance," he writes.

"Got an itch in your eye or your nose that you just have to scratch? Facing those frequently touched places such as elevator buttons and door handles that seem full of peril? Use your hankie, dude!" Turow writes, stressing that used handkerchiefs do need to be washed thoroughly. He notes a handkerchief can also be quickly turned into a mask using two rubber bands. No rubber bands on hand? You still have "a makeshift bandanna," Turow writes. It's more than convenient. "Bring back the pocket handkerchief" and "it may actually save a few lives," Turow writes. And once the pandemic is over, you might be surprised just how handy your handkerchief becomes, he notes. "Can you grab the handle of a pot that's boiling over with a Kleenex?" Click for the full column. (Read more opinion stories.)

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