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I once had a colleague who was afraid of cotton balls. I found this out during an odd conversation about things we disliked, be it buttons, pencil lead, or batteries. The button man was a collector, always snipping the extra buttons off a shirt, and stashing them away. Although he feared them, he was even more afraid his shirt would lose a button, and he wouldn’t have a replacement.

To each his own. I have my own (lengthy) list of things that give me the heebie jeebies.

1. Pennies. I am terribly afraid of the germs carried on pennies, and the bad luck pennies represent. Even citing the childhood nursery rhyme “Hot Cross Buns” creeps me out.
I refuse to go near a tails up penny. If a penny is heads up, but on the ground, I won’t go near that either. You see, I’d rather have regular luck from passing over a heads up penny, than pick up the germ-ridden thing, and have good luck, but need to immediately wash my hands.

2. Public restrooms. Ok I’m sensing a theme here. I don’t like germs. I don’t know who or what or what combination of things has been in a public bathroom before me, and I don’t care to know.
On my first trip to NYC this past year, I drank my normal morning coffee, and had to G-O to the bathroom. My husband kindly pulled over at the closest gas station he could find (which happened to be in the ghetto…) and said, “Here you go,” with a smile, and too much enthusiasm. I carefully winced as I got out of the car, and tip toed into the bathroom. I was almost so enthralled with all the tagging (graffiti) that I almost didn’t notice what a germfest was going on right before my eyes.  I sent a friend a picture of the baby-changing station, covered in expletives. No thanks, I’d rather change my babe elsewhere. I hand-sanitized like a mad woman for the rest of the car ride.

3. Soggy things. One big difference between me and most of the world I’ve met is that I like my cereal with ice-cold milk, and lots of crunch. Soggy cereal is the pits! Who wants lukewarm milk, with mushy stuff dripping out of their mouth? If I wanted mushy, I’d go for oatmeal, which is much more healthy anyway. But that’s not the point. Frosted Mini Wheats are the worst! Once the milk hits the bowl, I have approximately one and a half minutes before it’s deemed untouchable.

4. Your blood/guts/injury story. PLEASE hear me out on this one. If I put my hands up in defense and say, “Oh that absolutely churns my stomach,” this is NOT the cue for you to continue telling me about how brave you were when you broke your leg and your bone was sticking out and you held it in while blood gushed everywhere. Why? Because pretty soon, I’m going to faint, and then I’ll split my head open and fall against the filing cabinet, and then we’ll have a real injury on our hands. Then when I wake up -if I wake up- and hear what happened to me, I’ll pass out again. I promise, it will be a never-ending cycle. Please stop when I say so.

5. The dark. What’s lurking out there? Sneaking, stepping on pine cones, crunching on the snow? I don’t want to know.

6. Hair. Rewind to the public restroom scene I mentioned before. Throw in some stray hairs; enough said. Barf. Hair balls are another thing. It’s the fact that they’ve seen inside the stomach walls, and have been forced up, whether by muscle spasms or a coughing fit, until they see daylight again. Not to mention, they aren’t usually left in a convenient place, meaning it’s easy to fall victim to stepping on one.

7. Styrofoam. Scritchy scratchy… that sound the plastic fork makes on the leftover container gives me goosebumps, and makes me dry-heave. You would think I’d use my “Go green” coffee mugs every day, instead of the drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts styrofoam cups. Let’s just say I’m strange, because I sometimes tape a paper napkin around the coffee cup, so I don’t have to touch the styrofoam.

I have thoroughly grossed myself out. Why did I decide to write this before bed? I should have some strange dreams tonight, and I suppose that means I’ll have something else to write about.

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