Matt Brandstein

A Work in Progress

Matt Brandstein

Matt Brandstein
Chicago, Illinois, USA
January 29
Under construction.


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SEPTEMBER 4, 2008 9:06AM

The Towel Incident

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An entry from my diary from the winter of 2006

Hypochondria inspire an acute sensitivity to the minutest physical changes taking place within or around my body. The emergence of whiskers on a recently shaved jaw or the drying of nasal mucus is felt with the kind of staggering intensity one might devote towards something a little more irritating like a brain tumor. It should not be surprising that I am obsessively thinking about germs or more so how those microscopic killers are plotting to ravage me to death.

When I work out at the gym, a predictably terrifying affair that I compulsively undertake to protect my health, I am hyper vigilant from arrival to departure of the potential staph infection lingering on the handle bars of a Gravitron pull up machine or the most recently hatched crop of bed bugs waiting in the carpet to attach themselves to my pant legs. But not all of the self imposed HASMAT safety measures in the world can prevent the occasional slip up in my routine to send me one step closer towards permanently checking into the inpatient psychiatric ward upstairs from my analyst's office.

After swimming, an activity that allows for some peace of mind courtesy of the New York City Board of Health's insistence on radically high chlorine levels, I walk flip flopped back to the locker room with clean towel in hand, prepared to take sanitization even one step further with a ten minute shower that includes steel wool scrubbing techniques learned in the socially conscious 1980s film Silkwood.

There are no profanities in the English language strong enough to convey the horror when during yesterday's shower my thoroughly hygienic complimentary bath towel, given to me personally by the gyms compassionate laundress, dropped from my awkward grasp onto the cesspool below. Only my imagination and trained lab technicians can understand the enormity of what has been brewing on the locker room floor.

I sat under the shower's scalding hot water too numb to feel it as I dreaded the thought of my next move. The application of dry clothes against a dripping wet body at the onset of a blizzard does not bode well for protection against the common cold.

I awoke today on this wintry morning with my throat clenched tightly in fiery pain. A fever has broken across my brow. The illness has forced me to abstain from today's workout at the gym. I lie in bed waiting for relief to come, trying my best to refrain from the "what if" questioning circle of hell game as I cannot help but be reminded of my slip, not to mention taunted, by the sight of fresh plump towels folded atop my laundry basket.

Blanketed in two feet of snow, this is one of the few instances that the city looks as promising as it does in heart of a tourist’s souvenir snow globe. The streets are blissfully quiet as the cars and busses are unable to pass through the avenues. I spot a lone bird soaring amidst the flurries and wonder if this is the one carrying the flu that’s going to put an end to it all.

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OOopps!! I'm sorry, I sneezed as I wrote this...I am now using high powered disinfectant on the keys and screen..........err, uh,............ sorry Matt.
Bed bugs in the carpet?!!

Kee-riced, I never even thought of that. Now I'll have to spray my pants cuffs with Deep Woods Off every time I head off to any place which might have carpeting.

As if I didn't obey enough compulsive urges already.
Thanks Matt.
Your post reminded me of something a little unusual I recently saw in the freshwater quarry where I usually swim: jellyfish. Yes, there are freshwater jellyfish, called C. Sowerbii, which is Latin for "fucking creepy".

I'm not easily spooked, but there were a lot of the things. Between imagining that these creatures might join with a sort of hive mind and pull me to the depths, and the possibility that I might accidentally inhale one, I have had a very difficult time returning to the water.

Now I just try not to notice them.
Hilarious. A quasi-hypo myself, this sounds like my worst nightmare.