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Clean as the Board of Health

August 18, 2010

Is an old phrase I used to hear adults say when I was a child to describe someone who was very well dressed. “Oooo Weee, he looked good! He was clean as the board of health!”

It wasn’t until years later that I learned exactly who/what the Board of health is and what they do. It wasn’t until yesterday that I stopped for lunch at a swanky eatery I had wanted to visit for months, when low and behold a group of business looking men visited the same eatery and were seated near my table.

The restaurant was sparsely attended during my lunchtime visit and the businessmen could have had their pick of seats so I looked up when they chose seats very close to mine. When they noticed me notice them they moved to another table. As they were walking away I saw one of the men wore a white lab jacket with the words Dept. of Health embossed in big black letters on the back.

Hummm? I couldn’t help but think as I was devouring my second or third bite of the most perfect burger I had eaten in some time. Just then my server came to ask the customary, “How’s everything?” question. I was all prepared to tell her that my meal was almost a religious experience – until I saw the health department there in plain view. So I returned the same question to her, “How’s everything?”

She assured me or tried to assure me that everything was fine – that she had worked in many restaurants and Health Department visits were customary, though the visits always put the staff on edge. Everyone was busy wiping and re-wiping perfectly clean glass and a man who came from the kitchen to speak with the men, who was introduced as the operations manager, looked more like a surgeon than a food service worker, clad in a white net bonnet, a white lab coat of his own and white net booties covering his shoes.

I couldn’t help but wonder does it take all that to make a great burger and if it does why have I never noticed that costume before in any of the many eateries I’ve visited.

I enjoy restaurants, the way many of my peers enjoy shoes and clothes. I’d much prefer dropping 30 bucks for a fabulous burger and a couple of beers, to dropping the same 30 bucks on an accessory to complete a fabulous outfit.

Funny how the reference “clean as the board of health” was introduced into my vocabulary as a way to define great clothes when all the while the board of health would never venture to visit a clothing store but they did manage to loom over my stylish outfit today, as I consumed my well dressed burger.

I’m just hoping we were all clean as the board of health.

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