So you see, I come by my own issues honestly. I get my mammograms and sonograms and pap smears and blood workups and even the dreaded colonoscopy on a regular basis, and I have the dermatologist check my moles and everything is just finefinefine and then I read about some flesh-eating supervirus and I'm instantly convinced that I contracted it on my way home from my checkup. How the hell am I supposed to protect myself from that kind of deadly scourge? By eating more broccoli? You have no idea how much broccoli I already eat, and carrots and beets and even kale, and I don't think a trans fat or anything with corn syrup has crossed these lips in a very long time. I wash my hands frequently, not sick OCDishy frequently, although some non-vigilant types may think so, but I can't deny that antibacterial hand lotion and I have become the best of friends.

Allow me to offer you a little hint about antibacterial lotions and gels. To me, they're one of the greatest inventions of all time, right alongside fire, the wheel, and ribbed condoms. Now I know there are naysayers out there who claim that they do nothing, and some say they actually foster bacterial growth. Bullshit. I don't believe a word of it, and I don't care to see the evidence. I choose to believe that these products work and that they're effective and protecting me. A placebo effect perhaps, but whatever gets you through the night.

There are germs everywhere. Go to the ATM and use that touch screen and the chances are that the guy who used it before you had the flu virus all over his fingers. What are the odds that not one person who touched those buttons before you was a nose-picker? You'd better get that gel out, because a sink with soap and hot water is not part of the operation over there.
Hand shaking is also a lightning rod for the spread of germs. People make you out to be crazy or antisocial if you don't want to press the flesh, but I think it's simply self-preservation. Do you know how much crap is spread by hand-to-hand contact? Donald Trump and Howie Mandel do. They don't shake hands with anybody—in fact their hands are probably in pristine condition, clean enough to perform major surgery. On Deal Or No Deal, not only does Howie not shake the players' hands, he doesn't even touch those freaking briefcases. A number of years ago, when Donald Trump was running for president, a big deal was made over the fact that he wouldn't shake hands. To me, that's the smartest thing he could possibly have done. I'd vote for him on that issue alone. I roasted Donald Trump at a Friars Roast a couple of years after he ran for office and said, "Everybody thinks that Donald doesn't shake hands because he's a germaphobe, but the truth is, he jerks off so much that he considers anything else cheating." Okay, that was a joke at a roast—and a good one, I might add—but in reality I admire his convictions about hand shaking. I'm too chicken shit and afraid of offending to make that rule, although I should follow his lead. Sometimes when I do a meet and greet after a show and have to shake literally hundreds of people's hands I feign illness and tell them that I have a cold or getting over the flu so I don't want to shake, as though I'm actually protecting them from my germs. My altruism is never-ending.
Excerpted from What Would Susie Say? by Susie Essman. Copyright ?? 2009 by Esswoman Productions, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY.


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