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These days, I find myself singing “Happy Birthday” several times between daybreak and bedtime. As the next birthday in our family is weeks away, I feel a bit silly about it, even though I mostly confine the singing to my head. Since I am running out of people to silently and undeservedly congratulate, I have started making up my own, birthday-unrelated lyrics to go with the melody. None of them are going to win me a Grammy.

I am not going mad, at least not more than anybody else. Singing the popular song twice while washing your hands to ensure appropriate cleanliness in the times of you-know-what is just one of the tips I received from one of the many parenting newsletters I seem to be subscribing to. Unfortunately, I’m running out of lyric ideas. Thank God, there’s already a backlash against incessant handwashing, as I learned from another newsletter. Apparently, excessive washing can also kill the good bacteria that is supposed to kill the bad bacteria.

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