When I'm walking the dog, and she squats to do her business, I reach into my pocket like a good citizen and take out a plastic poop bag. The bags are slippery and hard to open. The only solution is to lick a finger and give myself enough temporary gripping power to pry it open. The problem with this solution is that I'm licking my finger while thinking of dog crap. This never fails to creep me out.

But I topped it yesterday. I was working out at the gym and felt a powerful thirst. The gym provides large paper cups near an ice and water dispenser. I filled my cup, slapped on a plastic lid, and inserted the straw. So far, so good.

As I was happily slurping away, I entered the locker room and the first person I saw was a man in his mid sixties with a towel around his waist, blow drying his hair. Suddenly, to my horror, he put the blow dryer under the towel and started drying his junk. . . while I was sucking on a straw. I was temporarily blinded and I forgot most of my childhood.

Am I the only person routinely afflicted by the proximity problem?
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Jul 18, 2009
Gee dunno about you but that's what I use the hair dryer for. But only at home, not at the locker room. When I do do this I often sing the song, "And the call the wind Mariah!" And I think about the hot scirocco's of the desert. OK gotta go take a shower now!
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 8, 2009
most brits evoke a shove them in front of a bus response
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May 8, 2009
you and your brother woody allen would never make it in the army
May 7, 2009
There's an unconscious linking or association that creates an internal discomfort. You're linking the poop with your tongue... the junk with the !$%*!$%*!$%*!$

Seeing an older man blow drying his junk should give one the willies, regardless of what you're doing, and whether you're seeing it in person, or on YouTube.

There's more to it than it simply being an incongruent juxtaposition of incompatible events, so that it's not just a matter of proximity...

May 7, 2009
While on tour of a local facility for the profoundly retarded, the smell of so many people in diapers was understandably unpleasent, but I was alright untill I saw someone changing a diaper and someone next to them looking on while munching a candy bar (a Baby Ruth). Even though I wasn't the one eating the candy bar, I was thoroughly grossed out. I couldn't imagine how someone could ever become that desensitized to the 'proximity problem' as you call it. I don't think I was able to eat a Baby Ruth for years afterward.
May 7, 2009
And you liked it right?
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May 7, 2009
"Smelling" is the act of inhaling tiny particles...one of the many reasons I have never used a Port-a-Potty.
May 7, 2009
I don't have the Proximity Problem, but yesterday at the local Y there was a little old man three feet away from me in the dressing who was outwardly normal in every respect but one: he had a scrotum the size of a cantaloupe.
May 7, 2009
Proximity - watching the counter kid empty the trash cans in the lobby at McFast Food - then returning to the register and processing someone's order. How many other things does he do with out washing his hands.

In general, the whole business of signs that say "Employees Must Wash Their Hands Before Returning to Work" turns my stomach - is the common sense of hygene lost on people today. It's so easy now with hands-free soap dispenser, hands-free faucets, hands-free hand dryers - even hands free flushing. Maybe people need hands-free wiping after #2 to make the philosophy work. At guys can do the hands-free shake-off at the urinal.

Can proximity issues be gender-specific?
May 7, 2009
Hey Scott,

You've probably seen this article already but it reminded me of your personal building project and new businesses in the economy, so I'm curious what you think about it.

May 7, 2009
I was once in a gym shower when the guy next to me started shaving his pubes. Not something I wanted to see.

By the way, I applaud your social conscience. Where I live, the town council provides fenced off areas where owners can take their dogs to crap. The areas are cleaned regularly by council employees. Even so, people let their dogs crap in the public areas. What's more, the council also provides plastic bag dispensers every few blocks for dog owners along with a bin where they can deposit the used bags. The irony and shame, though, is that on the ground beside the dispensers, it's not unusual to see dog crap on the ground.

All the best.

May 7, 2009
Bravo, actualy laughted out loud at your strip today. Probably 'cause mitten sounds like !$%*!$% (s h i t t e n).
And then laughed even more at the blog.
Excellent stuff.
May 7, 2009
The Proximity Problem is one of my favourite little mind exercises to keep myself sane... and I'm interested if anyone else does this too?

I (along with most other humans, I imagine), suffer from low-grade OCD and as such will get the urge to check the iron is switched off when I know fine well it is. I do not allow myself to succumb, even though it's sometimes MORE effort to leave the perceived anomaly rather than check it...

Sooooo.... My sister has two big, slobbery dogs and they love nothing more than having a big, slobbery, drooly drink after they've been out for a walk. This, as you can imagine, is a sight too vile to watch. I was at my sister's house recently and she produced a lovely big jug of iced water from which she proceeded to pour me a glass. While drinking the water, I heard the merry chinking of ice cubes from the kitchen which stayed in the back of my mind as I was drinking the water with my OWN merrily-chinking ice-cubes.

The awful truth slowly dawned on me. My sister, being the kind woman that she is, had filled the dogs' bowls with water from the VERY SAME jug that she'd produced my drink. I asked her if this dreadful fact was true. She confirmed it and then told me she often does this, as she "imagines dogs like cold water as much a humans do, particularly when they're hot".

There was, of course, no direct contact between the festival of drool and the jug, but it took me a VERY long time to talk myself down. Now I can do it each and every time I get the glass of water which may or may not include the Proximity Problem and I feel a little stronger as a result.

So there.

May 7, 2009
Regarding your strip today (May 7th), Mr. Adams, the whole "web glands in the ass" thing has been done already...


Still, I like yours too.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 6, 2009
Peered over my hot dog as I took the first bite and spied a large dalmation with a red rocket...........heeave.
May 6, 2009
In a theater rest room was doing my business at the urinal. In walks a 5 or 6 year old little boy. All the stalls occupied and the urinals were high for him. He steps up and proceeds to do his business anyway. Am thinking, how is he going to hit the target? No problem, he just arched it right in there with a beautiful stream and then cut it off clean when done. Not a drop spilled. Amazed, I forgot how it was when I was his age. Walked out and said to his concerned waiting Mom, that her son was doing just fine. Then went home to clean the toes of my shoes.
May 6, 2009
Going to the bathroom while you've still got food in your mouth. It's not gross but it sure seems gross.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 6, 2009
I know what you mean Scott. Just now, I was eating hot dog while reading about you walking in on a guy blow drying his junk. Thanks man!
May 6, 2009
Nope, you're not alone.

I cannot bring myself to use the faucet to fill a glass of water while the toilet next to the sink is actively flushing.
Somehow, knowing stuff is going into the plumbing while I'm taking stuff out of the plumbing rattles me.

It doesn't help that I saw an episode of Quincy years ago (the pilot?) where that was actually the cause of the illnesses.

-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 6, 2009
That's why we all point at you and laugh.
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