Why I Switched to the Handkerchief

We’ve all been there. You’re standing in line at the Garden Club Market checkout with a handful of beets and eggplant when you get the sudden and powerful urge to sneeze. What do you do? Do you drop the vegetables and sneeze into your elbow? What if you’re wearing a short-sleeved shirt? Well, in those cases, obviously it’s better to sneeze into your neighbor’s hoodie. You grab the hood of the gal in front of you and blow fine mist into the thick, soft fabric. But what if the person in front of you is not wearing a hoodie, as is so often the case? Well, you’re out of luck. Unless you just like the feel of a moist inner elbow.

Well, my friends, I have the answers. I have taken several Sneeze-Prep classes, as well as the more generalized Living With Allergies and Finding Good Places to Sneeze seminars. And I’m here to share the answers with you.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried a tissue in my pocket. It’s almost always there in case I need a quick drip-catch or sneeze pocket. And then I wad (or fold) it back up and stuff it back in my pocket. And I’ve long lived with the prepper’s philosophy of replacing it any time I’m near a box of facial tissues. It just makes sense.

But facial tissues do eventually start getting saturated and thinning out. They finally develop holes and become unusable. And then you have to make a point of finding a Facial Tissue Refreshment Center. Well some genius recently invented the handkerchief. I guess it’s similar to the footkerchief and the less popular buttkerchief. But it is unique in that it isn’t considered an offense to put it back in your pocket after you’ve used it.

I’m not sure why I never caught on to the value of the utility of such an item. I have, like I said, long run to the FTRC. It’s like second nature. But I recently bought one online just to give it a shot (so to speak), and had one of those moments we have in life where you stop and go, “What the hell have I been doing wrong all my life?”

And yes, though I’ve written most of this column in gest, I want to report to you that I’m deadly serious about switching fully to the hank over the tissue. And there are several reasons, which I will lay out here.

  • they can be colorful and decorative
  • much like a knife, you can choose different hanks for different moods
  • much more absorbent
  • don’t need replacing after one massive sneeze
  • they’re kind of cool to collect, like knives
  • they can be a sort of style statement, like a necktie
  • the good ones keep the bad stuff insulated, keeping your pocket dry

I’m sure there are many others, but I don’t have time to list them. (Or there might not really be many others.) But about that style thing… I have gotten so many compliments when I’ve pulled out one of my nice handkerchiefs. No joke. At first it kind of made me frown-smile. Like, “Uh, what?” But then I realized it’s kind of a culture thing. (The carrying of a hank – not what’s growing inside a used one.)

The bottom line, and then I’ll stop trying to convert you, is that we all have those days where we need multiple tissues. And if you’re having one of those full-box-in-a-day days, then yeah, you need an aloe-enhanced tissue and you need to carry the box around. I get it. But if you’re like me and just need to wipe or blow your nose occasionally, then you should consider it. Because you can always have it with you. That should be a trademark. Let’s try that again.

You Can Always Have it With You™

Nice! So now that you’ve determined that you need to start carrying a handkerchief, let me introduce you to my new homemade brand. I’ve never really made anything and sold it online. And I don’t expect to have to open a warehouse to start mass-producing these things. But here’s what I’m doing.

I’ve been making my own hanks for a while now. And when you buy fabric, you have to buy a swatch of whatever width you want. And that swatch of fabric comes in a certain width – like 48 or 60 inches or whatever. In other words, you can’ just buy a one-foot square. So you buy one foot of fabric, which is about four feet wide. Well, I do that, and make one hank out of that. Which leaves me like three extra feet of the fabric. So instead of just making one out of the fabric I like, I have started going ahead and making the other two or three out of the leftover. Those are what I’m selling now.

My hanks are ten inches square. They have my logo heat-pressed into one corner. They are double-stitched and guaranteed to get a response. I will even take special orders if you think you have a good idea for a general pattern. Head on over to the hank store and check them out. Then you can blow your nose into something beautiful. Wait! That should be the trademark!

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