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Weirdest Advice Request Of The Weekend
Sent, not just to me, but to Heloise, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter.

In a message dated 11/17/07 11:16:47 AM, writes:

I was born without my left arm. I blame my mothers drinking, smoking and drug abuse during my gestation for my impairment (she says she fell down the stairs). I have tried three different prosthetic devices in the past but never liked them. I have learned to live within my limits and therefore, I believe, reach my potential. I am a successful Health Insurance Consultant, a job which has me traveling through out North America and Europe most of the year. I am also a Level 9 (out of 10) Germaphobiac; at least that’s what my therapist says. My problem is that, because of my busy schedule, I am forced to have bowl movements in public facilities (YUCKY!). If you’ve ever had to use the bathroom in a subway station in Liverpool after a soccer game, you know what I’m talking about.

I understand what the authorities have told me, and that it is not acceptable for me to walk out of a stall with my pants around my knees to wash my hand before I pick them up. I have used those small, travel-size hand sanitizers but because they touch the hand, that I just wiped with mind you, I have to throw them away, and believe me, with the dollar doing so poorly, it gets expensive. I’ve also tried using a surgical glove but I have to peel it off with my teeth and that’s just disgusting.

I’m desperate. Do you have any advice? Also, when I say the word “I”, I’m talking about my friend Dan.

Sincerely, Donald D.

Posted by aalkon at November 18, 2007 9:30 AM


I think you are asking the wrong person for this kind of advice. Someone with experience of your problem would be much more able to help - try associations that support veterans, amputees, thalidomide victimes, etc.

You could also work on the germaphobia. Improving that would make your life less problematic. If your therapist doesn't do anything besides giving you a score of 9, then you're wasting your time with that therapy. Amy would recommend A guide to rational living by Albert Ellis. So would I.

Posted by: Norman at November 18, 2007 8:45 AM

Would I sound unsympathetic if I said that I think he's messing with you?

Posted by: Allison at November 18, 2007 1:27 PM

Are you going to answer him? I want to read your answer!

Posted by: Susan at November 18, 2007 5:03 PM

What do you call a man with no arms, no legs, no head or torso?


Posted by: eric at November 18, 2007 5:25 PM

Regarding Allison's comment, I'd like to know how the Advice Goddess separates the BS requests for help from the real... From what has been shared here, I'd be on the fence about this one.

Posted by: justin case at November 18, 2007 6:00 PM

This appears a bit too neurotic but still plausible to be fake, especially the last part so I'll assume it's real. I'd say best thing would be set up a system similar to what doctors and nurses use to eliminate germs. IE: Use a sanitizing wipe to clean a portion on top of the toilet paper dispenser. Then leave a second sani-wipe on top of the spot you just cleaned, place the rest of the pack back in your pocket. Then do you business and when you are done use the sani-wipe you left on the sanitized portion of the TP dispenser to clean your hand. Toss the last wipe in the toilet and your done.

P.S. You might want to look at a better therapist. Maybe see someone who can proscribe medication to ease the anxiety.

Posted by: vlad at November 18, 2007 7:40 PM

Would I sound unsympathetic if I said that I think he's messing with you?

Sounds fake except that he sent it to all these other people. A sign that it could be real. But, when people send a request for advice to me and to others and don't even bother to disguise that I typically write back to them and tell them something like, "I'll leave this one to Dear Abby," or whomever.

Another sign that it's fake -- an OCD'er whining that everything's too expensive or too much trouble. A real OCD'er would probably wear glove-gloves.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 18, 2007 10:26 PM

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