This space is happy to offer up-to-the-minute insights, today’s concerning connections between neckties, germs, the male brain and other organs.
First, reporter Rebecca Smith writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that neckties may be helping spread flu germs, and many people inside and outside the health care industry think they should go.
“The list of things to avoid during flu season includes crowded buses, hospitals and handshakes. Consider adding this: your doctor’s necktie.
Neckties are rarely, if ever, cleaned. When a patient is seated on the examining table, doctors’ ties often dangle perilously close to sneeze level. In recent years, a debate has emerged in the medical community over whether they harbor dangerous germs.
Several hospitals have proposed banning them outright. Some veteran doctors suspect the anti-necktie campaign has more to do with younger physicians’ desire to dress casually than it does with modern medicine. At least one tie maker is pushing a compromise solution: neckwear with an antimicrobial coating.
BUT HOW ABOUT JUST SWITCHING TO THE BALDRIC?
My friend Robert Liner MD, a distinguished physician/piano player/tango dancer/fellow board member of Compassion & Choices of N.CA and general Renaissance man, made this switch some time ago. In rather characteristic Liner fashion, he then established a company which produces Baldrics in order that others may enjoy them.
Earlier Baldrics were worn by most respectable Scots so they would have something handy from which to hang their swords. But for the 21st century, as Liner writes on his company web site:
We are re-inventing the Baldric for present day men and women on the go. I originally conceived the idea of the Baldric as a new fashion statement for men. Instead of a constricting necktie, a man could dress up with a Baldric. Instead of carrying a sword, the modern man could employ his Baldric to carry his sword equivalent: a cell phone, I-Phone, Blackberry or other p.d.a.. Additionally, in place of a bulky wallet, he could keep credit cards, folding money and small personal items easily accessible in a secret pocket in his Baldric. The Baldric is a hybrid: it’s a necktie alternative that performs like a sleek, modified, minimalist messenger bag.
Contacted today about the germ issue, Liner reports he had indeed heard of such. “Of course, it’s seemed to me,” he muses further, “that the more significant problem with neckties from the point of view of health and world peace is the possibility that neckties reduce blood supply to the male brain. This may account for a good deal of what looks like irrational behavior on the part of my sub-species. This can especially be a problem during adolescence and at other times (ie. most of the time) when demand is placed upon the male circulatory system to divert blood to an organ that is not the brain but sometimes functions in place of the brain. Under these circumstances, the male blood stream can hardly afford to have any restriction placed upon the “choke point” by a necktie so that what little blood is left available to go north to the “main brain” is impeded, resulting in chaos on a global scale.”
Considering the problems of H1N1 and other viruses, and the potential for advancing world peace as Dr. Liner suggests might happen with fewer neckties, this space hereby blatantly endorses the Baldric.