I live in the finger licking capital of the world. Yes, that's right. 97 percent of the people in my part of this state (which I will not name so that I can safely enter stores again) lick their fingers whenever they encounter anything that could possibly need a bit of traction to move it.
Pages in books, of course. Plastic bags at any store will be definitely be picked up by a finger lickin' cashier and blessed with a bit of his or her saliva before they present it to you, as will be anything made of paper. Money will be counted at the bank by a finger licker whose mouth must be a bacteriologist's petri dish dream. Virologists would be delighted to swab across those dentine surfaces.
A dentist office with several dentists, which I used to patronize, but, thankfully do not anymore, had several clerical workers behind a counter all using three huge books of calendar pages. The corners of the pages were discolored from spit transferrred dirt. I'd stand there and wince as they all licked before turning a page.
It does not matter where the lickers work, or how sanitary it's supposed to be where they work--food industry, or hospital the tongues just keep on licking, and the germs keep right on ticking.
I was raised by an Arkansas momma whose mother was a doctor's daughter from the Southern reaches of the Midwest--or, if true Southerners will allow me to say so (one sniffed "that's not the South" to me once when I said I was from the South) the upper South. My grandma Price was a very clean and sanitary person. She had assisted her father in his doctor's office as a young teenager in the days before antibiotics. She knew what dirtiness and spit could cause. And, her Southerner's manners would never allow for casual finger licking anyway. Very vulgar.
I've called stores to complain about finger licking checkers, been told thank you for pointing it out, and I've even noticed a decline in it for awhile. But, soon the lickers were at it again. I mentioned to a teller at a bank who was licking her way through a stack of one hundred one dollar bills I'd requested that I'd heard money was really dirty. She said, oh yes, for sure, she had to wash her hands several times a day, they'd get black with dirt if she didn't.
I don't understand it. It's a pure reflex for these people. They don't even know they're doing it. Their tongues dart out like a lizard and fingers and thumbs go to their mouths with the reflex action of a two year old world class thumbsucker. If you mention it, they either look uncomprehendingly at you like you must be from Mars, or they look insulted--and you figure they'll find a way to spit even bigger amounts on your stuff if they can.
Mothers, please don't let your children grow up to be finger lickers. It's nasty, it spreads germs, turns people off. And, I used to say, a finger licker can never become President. But, now, I don't know. Maybe they can.