From time to time folks suggest alternatives to "Happy Birthday" to mark the 20 seconds we're supposed to wash our hands to help stave off the coronavirus.

We've had suggestions ranging from the first lines of Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song," repeated three times, to the lyrics of "Tiger Rag," that is, "Hold that tiger…" repeated as many times as it takes to cover 20 seconds.

One of my favorites is the chorus of Willie Nelson's great "Red Headed Stranger" — "Don't cross him, don't boss him, he's wild in his sorrow, he's riding and hiding his pain…"

It has also been suggested that we simply could count 20 seconds while washing our hands; but where's the fun in that?

Alton Duke, of Baton Rouge, comes up with one that sounds like fun, and is appropriate for hand-washing — Bobby Darin's 1958 hit, "Splish Splash."

With the help of a recording of the tune and our kitchen timer, I've come up with a portion of the song that times out at roughly 20 seconds. Of course, you can sing it slower or faster. Anyhow, here's the result my research. Wait for the water to get warm, have your soap ready, and start singing NOW: 

"Splish splash, I was taking a bath

Long about a Saturday night, yeah

A rub dub, just relaxing in the tub

Thinking everything was alright

Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor

I wrapped the towel around me

And I opened the door, and then

Splish, splash…"

No need to thank me … public service is my life. 

Thinning the crowd

One more "Navy chow" story, from George Wedge ("of Gretna, Louisiana's most beautiful city").

"On the carrier USS Leyte, the crew was composed of 3,300 men — 300 officers, 3,000 enlisted sailors. Quite often I would forego a meal because of the long lines.

"We had creamed chipped beef on toast, and most of the crew preferred almost anything else. However, there were a few exceptions — including this former sailor.

"When this was served, instead of 3,000 men in the chow line, there were only about 300. Whenever it was served, I was twice blessed; a short line and a breakfast I enjoyed. Sure beat powdered eggs and powdered milk."

Make it raw

Speaking of haute cuisine, Arthur Christy makes this contribution:

"Your seminar on raw food overlooked a local legend. The Camellia Grill, on Carrollton near the river in New Orleans, offered the 'Cannibal Burger,' a raw meat patty topped with a raw egg topped with raw onions.

"I didn't, but perhaps another of your readers tried one."

Helen's place

More on restaurant names:

Joanne Fischtziur, "When my son was in the Navy, he was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, but lived in Navarre.

"When we were visiting him we were trying to decide where to go for lunch. He made some suggestions, one of which we thought was, 'Hell and back.' What?

"He laughed and said the name of the place is Helen Back. Of course, we had to go, and enjoyed our food and service."

Which reminds me

There's a very old story about the business that posted a sign to this effect:

"Our complaint department is headed by Helen Waite. If you have a complaint, go to Helen Waite."

Special People Dept.

Robert M. Crawford, of Baton Rouge, says the men in his family have an easy way to remember their anniversaries:

Robert and Barbara Ann Carr Crawford celebrate their 53rd anniversary Wednesday, June 17.

His sister, Suzanne Crawford Dorris and Richard E. Dorris, of San Angelo, Texas, celebrate their 59th anniversary Wednesday, June 17. 

And their parents, Floyd and Lucille Morris Crawford, who died in the 1990s, were married on June 17 in 1930.

Thought for the Day

From Marsha R.: "If you're not liking the year 2020, think about it. How often have you heard 'Hindsight is 2020?'

"Of course it looks like something viewed from your hind end."

Another thought

Marsha R. says she also came across this description of the year from hell:

"If 2020 were a drink, it would be a colonoscopy prep."


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.