There are many deities of healing, but Scrubbup beats them all, as the prevention is always better than the cure. Whist she mostly takes the form of a human female, she is all bear below the elbows. Of all the deities, Scrubbup is considered to be humanity’s first and best line of defence against disease. Many people are surprised to learn that Scrubbup is a deity of the modern age, coming into being sometime in the mid 1840’s. About the time that people started to realise that, if you don’t wash your hands after using the bathroom, you and your friends may as well greet each other by sticking your hands down each other’s pants. The early pioneers of her sect, who first started to preach the word of Scrubbup were disbelieved, derided, stigmatised, and even martyred. Physicians were supposed to cure disease, surely they could not be spreading it! Some of these early radicals have since been elevated to sainthood or “saintised”. Such as Saint Ignaz Semmelweis, Saint Florence of Nightingale, Saint Dora of Walsall and Saint John Snow (who knew a surprising amount, but it took him ages to get anyone to listen).
The faith of Scrubbup is still going strong today. The standards of purity laid down by her church have been adopted into medical practice all over the world. You will struggle today to find a medical professional who is not a devotee. Their motto is “Spread the word, not the pathogen!” In order to help the layperson understand the mind bogging numbers of bacterial that can occupy a common object, they have developed a unit of bacteria known as the “Metric Toilet Seat”. As in, “Did you know your mobile phone carries three Metric Toilet Seats worth of bacteria?” Today this sect is highly active and organises and funds both a research and an educational mission. The education mission go forth into the community, teaching the doctrine that good hygiene is the key to life everlasting, or at least life lasting a lot longer than it would otherwise. They sometimes hold awareness rallies, but unfortunately, as most of the attendees are doctors, no one can read their placards. The research arm mainly remain within the temple, where they devotedly spend hours and hours staring into microscopes, watching aerobic bacteria do their cardio.
When you visit a temple of Scrubbup, the first thing you will notice is that, where the holy water dish would be in a Catholic church, there is instead a holy alcohol hand sanitiser dispenser. The priesthood and congregation will frequently use this, giving the impression that they are constantly hatching a dastardly plan. Above the entrance door itself is a sign which says “Mind the Strep”. Inside, instead of communal pews, there are individual seats, placed at least a meter apart. The focal point of the temple is a special hand washing font, with those long arm taps, where the High Priestess, known as Auntie Viral, demonstrates correct hand washing technique. As she does this, the congregation sing hymns to accompany her. This helps her time the correct duration of her demonstration. These hymns all last exactly 20 seconds, and include include twice “Happy Birthday to You Times Two”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and for the Goths, four times through “Hey Now, Hey Now Now, Sing this Corona to Me”.
The priesthood can be recognised by the austere robes or “Scrubs” that they wear. (The US girl group TLC were excommunicated for failure to conform to the dress code.) These vestments include distinctive blue ceremonial face masks. There is an apocryphal tale that, once, some priests of Scrubbup went to pick up supplies of the face masks from Superdrug, but they had run out. The sales assistant suggested they try Boots. They almost suffocated.
Sadly, most people in the street give little thought to the wisdom of Scrubbup until there is some kind of epidemic scare situation. Then they often misinterpret the sensible guidance wildly. This is why, when advised to stay at home, they will proceed in a mass rabble to Sainsbury’s and up buy heaps of Knorr, Bovril and Oxo. This panic response is known as “stockpiling”. Inexplicably, people also get an urge to buy up all the toilet paper in sight, like a squirrel that ate a senna pod. One school of thought is that, if people are going to have to put their heads between their legs and kiss their arses goodbye, they want it to taste okay.
Scrubbup does not only have a role in medicine. Her beneficence is essential to space exploration. Sacred sterilisation and decontamination rites are carried out over any space vessel or probe to make sure that MARS missions do not become an MRSA missions.
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