14 Comments

  1. That song would be more than long enough if they weren’t singing both sides at the same time.

  2. P.S. My recommendation for a 20+ second song would be the first two verses of Walt Kelly’s “Deck Us All with Boston Charlie“. Here’s a charming version with a slightly British twist to the pronunciation (and the verses are slightly jumbled):

  3. P.P.S. Here are the lyrics to the two most popular stanzas:

    Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
    Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo!
    Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,
    Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-ga-roo!

    Don’t we know archaic barrel,
    Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
    Trolley Molly don’t love Harold,
    Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

  4. What’s wrong counting “twenty Mississippi”? 🙂

    There’s no way I’m gonna sing “Happy Birthday” twice…I don’t want that one stuck in my head…

  5. The problem with counting (even with Mississippis or hippopotamuses) is that people count at different speeds. A song you’ve heard a lot of times has a fixed tempo in your mind. Even more so for a song to be sung in chorus; everyone needs to keep the same tempo.

    But, yeah, I’m not gonna get an earworm, either, every time I wash my hands.

  6. The reason larger groups of musicians have conductors is that tempi are _not_ fixed.

  7. @ Dave – The speeds are not fixed relative to each other, but overall the acceptable cadence of a children’s song remains in a relatively narrow range. Anyone who has ever played “Hide and Go Seek” knows just how much a kid can accelerate counting digits to gain a competitve advantage.

  8. It’s not that narrow, especially if you’re subvocalizing to yourself, as is I expect usually the case for handwashing. Try timing yourself (first) and then checking a reference version.

  9. Robert heard 2 times of happy Birthday – but somewhere I heard 2 times of alphabet song – but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket so I am sure I am off either way – when the back of my hands start bleeding again – it is time to stop. Too much hand washing and cold weather – dries out the skin and it splits.

  10. I found that an easier way to make sure I hit 20 seconds was just to actually follow all the steps that public health advises. I don’t think it’s possible to do all of that in less than 20 seconds. (A local bar, before they had to shut down, had a sheet of movie monologues that take 20 seconds to read properly over the sinks.)

  11. My problem is not taking longer than 20 seconds: washing my hands makes me daydream.
    Sunday at the voting place, I had to use hydroalcoholic gel and because of Raynaud’s disease, my hands went numb and I dropped all my papers on the floor, so I’m not sure they were that clean after picking everything up. And I didn’t bring a pen because a long time ago, first time I got to vote, I was told off for not using the “official” pen (which was just a standard Bic ballpoint pen).

  12. NPR ran an article with a number of cute suggestions for handwashing songs. I’m getting sick and tired of “Happy Birthday”, and have been trying to get my kids to switch to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. Heck, I’d even accept “We Will, We Will Rock You!”

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