The Raving of a Germaphobe

I don’t know what’s happened to me. I’ve become a germaphobe. It’s surprising considering I once interned at a microbiology lab and streak-plated bacteria-laden samples onto petri dishes in between bites of a sandwich. My father cannot wrap his brain around this fact—he knows the freak I’ve become.

Somewhere over the last decade my mind has been taken over by a demon of sorts. To be politically correct, he’s a large, hirsute man. But since I break out in hives after long periods of political correctness, let’s just call him Big Fat Hairy Man.

Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with being a big, fat, hairy man. I’ve loved many over the years. So, embrace your big, fat, hairy man-ness. Oh, and no Big Fat Hairy Men were killed in the creation of his post.

Big Fat Hairy Man shows up in all kinds of places, but I see him most often when I have to stay at a hotel. Even good hotels. I walk into the pristine bathroom with its beauty pageant sash draped over the toilet bowl and I feel his presence. Those perfectly aligned wash cloths get my attention and I imagine Big Fat Hairy Man using them in a vigorous act of dingleberry disengagement. Sure they’ve been put through an industrial wash cycle, but that visual is a residue clinging to their bleached, white fibers.

I’ve seen too many police shows to doubt what a black light would reveal on the lush comforter. This doesn’t stop my husband though. He kicks back and plops himself down right on top of the paisley plushness to click through some channels in search of the latest Islanders score.

My husband isn’t the only one who threatens my sanity. There was the family member who let her toddler crawl on the Bates-like motel rug in Wildwood. (Okay, there was a sheet beneath her, but still.) When our toilet bowl backed up the next night and seeped out onto the rug, the instantaneous connection in my mind set my body aquiver for at least twenty minutes. That same vacation I watched one of our group make a sandwich on the dresser. No plate. Just dresser top (where Big Fat Hairy Man’s naked ass could have sat while pulling on tube socks), Wonder Bread, 3 slices of bologna, two of Swiss cheese, a dab of mayo, Wonder Bread topper and voilà—lunch.

Alas, spiritual solace is not possible—even the Gideons bible is off limits. God knows there could have been a power outage during Big Fat Hairy Man’s stay that precluded his watching the porn channel. Isn’t it possible he turned to the Song of Songs while the cable company was managing the repairs. (Please, no letters. I’m aware that Song of Songs is not pornography, but Big Fat Hairy Man is a figment of my imagination and my mind says he isn’t aware of the distinction and wouldn’t know allegory if it grabbed a hold of his matted chest hairs and yanked.)

Every year we take several camping trips and they are the joy of my summer. When people wrinkle their noses and say “Ewww, the bugs, the dirt, yuk, how do you do it?” I reply “Hotels. Ewwww, the bed bugs, the shower fungus, the God-knows-what on the comforter, yuk, how do you do it?” At least with camping, it’s me and my own DNA evidence in the sleeping bag.

Whew. I’ve gotta go. This topic’s made me want to take a shower . . . right after I antibacterial-wipe my mouse.

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2 Comments

  1. bronxboy55 said,

    February 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    You ruin everything. But you do it so perfectly, humorously, and elegantly that I really don’t mind. I look forward to it, actually. What’s next? Cheesecake? Pizza? Water slides? What?

    • February 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Ha, elegant is not quite the word I would have used for this one.

      How about meatballs? I can eat only my mother’s and my aunt’s. Meatballs made by unknown hands make me very nervous. Xenomeatballphobia I believe it’s called.


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