“I couldn’t believe I was actually doing this. Touching the car without wiping it down with baby wipes 17-18 times, then making it dry in the sun, wiping it down again, then getting waterproof gloves, then making my dad open it for me while wearing a raincoat and ski pants. It was such a risk to take, but I did it for my mom and soon-to-be-born baby sister.”
Bottom line: I do not touch anything. Period.
My name is — wait, what is my name again? Oh yeah, Howie McDonald, like the restaurant, but no relation. I mean McDonalds is so germy, that’s why I always carry a pack of baby wipes with me. If you can’t tell, I’m kinda sorta a complete germaphobe. I mean, baby wipes are my savior, people — baby wipes. I am a freshman in high school. My mom is having a baby in two months… or is it two weeks, or maybe two days, or maybe two minutes!
“Come on, Howie, your mother is having her baby right now.”
“Wait, what? I thought her due date was in two months!”
“We said that two months ago!”
I couldn’t believe I was actually doing this. Touching the car without wiping it down with baby wipes 17-18 times, then making it dry in the sun, wiping it down again, then getting waterproof gloves, then making my dad open it for me while wearing a raincoat and ski pants. It was such a risk to take, but I did it for my mom and soon-to-be-born baby sister. Baby wipes are still the savior!
When we got to the hospital, a bunch of people dressed in all blue, like ninjas, took her away in a special room they called the ER. When I told my dad, he was all like, “It is the ER.” Then I was all like, “I don’t need to know how to spell ER.” Then I heard my mom scream. I bet they were ripping out her guts, so I was about to punch the door like Muhammad Ali, but then I remembered I couldn’t punch.
We had to wait for like six hours, but it was all worth it when I found out my mom was okay. She just said it hurt a little, but it was all worth it when she saw her little baby. Then she whispered to me how it happened because she thought it was good for me to know.
“EEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!” I screamed, but apparently it was not.
Although I really wanted to name the baby Super TNT Sonic Bomb, that kind of name really doesn’t work in preschool, so instead, we named her Emma. I really needed to get more baby wipes. I mean, baby wipes are the savior.
The next week, I was ready to put her up for adoption. How could a baby go through so many diapers in ONE DAY!!! I go through a pack of baby wipes each hour — well, now it’s half an hour, but that’s different! I couldn’t believe my parents actually let her sit at the dining table or the kitchen table or ANY table! She eats like an untrained pig. Those filthy animals were winning the hearts of people every second. Just like babies. Puppies are the same. People say that they are very loyal, but really they are the scum of the earth!
Anyway, school was starting in two weeks, and I didn’t have my normal baby wipe stash complete for school. Could you just imagine how many baby wipes I would go through the whole school year? I mean, school is so dirty. The varsity squad and the really geeky kids, who think chess was considered a sport because 1% of the population, sweat while they play. But I bet only 5% of the population even knows how to play chess, not including me because the chess pieces are just so germy. The king and queen are covered in grease from everyone’s hands who don’t use baby wipes. Come on, people, we need to make everything in the world covered in baby wipes. If you think about it, it’s actually a pretty smart idea. I think it could even be considered a rule at school. Maybe it’s just so brilliant it should be in the Constitution! I mean, I could be considered a genius! But the Constitution is just too germy. Hundreds of people have touched it, and I don’t want to be a really dirty, germy freak. I could be on the varsity squad as well. I am really buff, and by that, I mean really, really buff. I was so good when I was little that they kicked me off the team! Like they actually kicked my hiney, and I landed off of the court. But now I really don’t like playing sports. The ball doesn’t get wiped with baby wipes before I use it, so I don’t use it at all. You know what? That’s the ball’s loss.
It was officially t-minus one day from school, and I was freaking out. I hadn’t completed my baby wipe stash because I kept using them to clean my hands from the baby. I didn’t know what to do. I kept using baby wipes, so I decided maybe I should just stick to baby wipes’ cousin, and you know what that is? HAND SANITIZER! I’d gotten a big pack and strapped them all onto the zippers of my backpack. It was the perfect plan.
You know what’s funny? My parents didn’t even know why I liked using baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Surely they knew I had germaphobia, but they didn’t know that I was so crazy about it. Sorry, baby wipes, but you had your time to shine, now it’s hand sanitizer’s time in the sun. I was officially more prepared than ever, and can you imagine how prepared that is? The baby had my parents wrapped around her little finger. I was so glad that I could get out of the house for a little while. School was finally starting, and now I wouldn’t have to eat lunch with the pig. That was my new nickname for Emma if you can’t tell. It really suited her well.
“Bye, honey, you will do great.”
“Mom, Mom, it’s just high school.”
“Exactly, just high school. Sigh.”
She took a big, long moment to sigh.
“High school germs, here I come.”
“What did you say, honey?” my mom said while changing the pig’s diaper.
“Uh, nothing,” I said while looking away.
Walking into the school was just so hard for me. I entered the land of germs, but I just sprayed on a little squirt of hand sanitizer as big as an orange, so I was ready to go. Then suddenly, there was a big alarm clock that didn’t stop until five minutes later. I guessed that was the bell everybody was talking about, but maybe I was just too busy saying that baby wipes are the savior. Then I saw her. She was beautiful, she was miraculous, she told me to stop staring at her and act less like a freak. Wait, that can’t be right.
“But I’m so buff, it’s impossible to not fall in love with me.”
“Yeah, like I was gonna fall in love like a snob like you.”
“You were. That’s what I’m saying.”
Then she just walked away from me for no reason. Or maybe she was being sarcastic. Man, chicks are so hard to understand nowadays, and I work so hard. I have to do so many chores to get enough money for my baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Chicks are so ungrateful about literally everything. But the girl was just so hot. She had long, blonde hair, and she wore a cheerleading outfit. I bet she goes to the beach every day to get sun tanned. But there is only one question I have, why do girls go to the bathroom in packs? Is there some kind of germ monster in there? Ew.
After school, when the bell rang eight times, I was so happy, but when I got home, I actually needed to do homework! It was outrageous! We had so much homework, and it was filled with germs because the teacher didn’t wipe her hands before she passed it out. I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I went on my laptop and watched YouTube videos on how to eat your lunch without getting any germs on your fingers or hands or mouth or face. There wasn’t a bit of information.
When I was at lunch the next day, I sat with the varsity squad and the cheerleaders. Everyone was trading. Someone even wanted to trade my tuna sandwich for a turkey sub. I gave him the tuna sandwich, but I made sure not to touch the turkey sandwich until he wiped his hands and then swiped the sandwich with his CLEAN hands. Then I took it, examined it, and you know what he said?
“Dude, just eat the sandwich already.”
Then I got angry and fired up. He didn’t want to get sick, did he? Well, if he didn’t do what I do to keep myself clean, then the only thing he will ever do is get sick. Then the bell rang.
“Ring ring ring,” went the bell.
Break, break, break, went my ears. The next thing I had on my schedule was P.E. Oh no, now I had to do pointless exercise, and there were no girls in my class. They gave us our gym clothes, and I refused to touch them because someone said that the gym clothes were REUSED!!! The worst word in the English language is reused. I refuse to say that word ever again. So I had to do P.E. in my regular clothes! I got so sweaty. Even my hand sanitizer couldn’t save me this time. Then when we went into the locker room, it was just unbearable. Everyone threw their dirty gym clothes all around the locker room. I had to wipe my locker so many times until it was clean enough to touch. But I had to do it in a sneaky way, so no teachers would see me and eventually ban hand sanitizer and baby wipes from the school and even add it to the Constitution. I had to get out of there.
Then I saw a vent. I kept cleaning it and cleaning it until I snuck through the vent. It was disgusting. But I had to sneak out fast because I didn’t want the teachers to see me (if you want to know why, look approximately five lines above). I went through the tunnels and tried not to touch anything. Finally, I saw a hole at the top tunnel, and I climbed through it. I was safe but not really because I landed in Mr. Smith’s drama class and Coach Kelly was chasing me on his motorcycle. I don’t know why they allow that at school. It’s a serious fire hazard, and a germ hazard. But I mean school rules are school rules. No matter what everyone thinks of them. But I really don’t think of them as my friends, or companions, or acquaintances.
“Oh yas. Tis is pefect, but wit dat motocycle thingy you all kep talking abou, hmm. Weel de show mus go on,” Mr. Smith said.
(If you say it with a funny accent it sounds better. Mr. Smith said so himself).
Then there was a wild chase in the school halls. Then the principal, Mrs. Prins, came down there and put me in detention for the rest of the month, and she’d made me clean the locker rooms. That was sort of a good thing and sort of a bad thing because I love cleaning stuff, but the locker rooms, people, seriously. I’m a professional cleaner of thingies, so I deserve a little bit of respect. I’m not just there to clean my classmates lockers.
It was the end of the day, and I had just got out of detention, so now it was time to go clean the locker rooms, but someone pulled my underwear out from my pants, and they said they were giving me a wedgie, but I call it a germy thingie. Then I turned around, and I saw the worst bully in the school. He was just so tall. And his shirt was ripping out from the middle. I’m pretty sure that he shaves at least twice a day. I started running, but something was holding me from moving. I looked behind me, and the bully was still behind me pulling my superman undies, but then I screamed. Not a powerful scream like most girls have, but a pathetic scream. I don’t scream very loudly because that attracts germs, and don’t forget about the nasty, horrible, man-eating, gross, and my arch enemy, bacteria.
Then I saw the girl of my dreams. She came over and drove the big bully off. Then she said her name was Ella. She was just so beautiful. She came over and helped me out. She told me not to mess with that bully anymore. I was just so sure she would insult me like the other girl, but then I looked into her eyes, and she looked into mine. I didn’t even care that she wasn’t as clean as me. Then the bell rang. Curse that darn bell. It ruins absolutely beautiful moments. I looked at my schedule. Just guess what class I had next. DRAMA!! I really don’t remember signing up for all of these classes. Maybe it’s because I refused to hold the pen when we were signing up. Onto drama I went though. But I really don’t think Mr. Smith likes me any more. After all, he does call me the “toeblemayer.”
After drama class was over, it was lunch time. Today my mom didn’t have time to do the usual lunch making routine, so I had to eat the cafeteria food! Seriously, people, and they didn’t have sandwiches–they only had hot dogs! I don’t eat pork. Have I even mentioned that I’m a pescetarian? Only fish and veggies. And the occasional fruit cup. Never farm raised. You know those commercials that say “Farmers Insurance?” Well, I eat anything besides anything that farmer’s touch. Period. So I just skipped lunch, even though I was so hungry. But then Ella offered me a seat at her table surrounded by all the girls. Ella and I saw each other in the hall every hour when the bell rang.
“Hey, biceps,” she would say.
“Hey, sweets,” I would call her.
I don’t think she really likes it when I call her that, but she’s never told me. She had a dream of being the captain of the cheerleading team, and I had a dream of being with her. We were good friends, and every time we met, she looked in my eyes and I looked in hers. We truly had something. That day after I finished cleaning the locker rooms, I told my mom all about Ella. She was so happy I finally found a friend in this horrible world they call high school. I really wanted to “get” her.
The next day at school after lunch, I looked at my next class. It was math class. When I walked through the door, I took a seat in the back row, so if the teacher was the kind of person who spits when he talks, I wouldn’t have to experience the rain. Then I saw Ella take a seat right next to me. I have to admit, she really gave off a warm glow.
“Ella, what are you doing here? You said you had science after lunch,” I asked.
“Well, turns out they got the wrong Ella, so now I’m in here with you,” she said, looking delighted.
“Well, I’m really glad you are,” I replied.
“Same. And I’m really happy that you picked a seat in the back row. Mr. Colan gives us the weather, not the news,“ she said, looking thankful.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,” I said out loud.
“Howie McDonald, please stop talking,” the teacher, Mr. Colan, said.
“Come on, old man, just say it, don’t spray it,” I said.
“I will accept it this time, but be warned. Next time I see you disrupting the class there will be a consequence. Do you understand?” he said to me.
“Yawn, what did you say again? All I got was blah blah blah this time, blah blah blah disrupting the class, blah blah blah consequence, blah blah blah understand,” I said.
“Oh, it’s good enough for me,” he sighed.
After class, in the hallway, all the jocks were high fiving me and giving me fist bumps. That was the best feeling I had in my whole life.
“Hey, dude, I can’t believe you said all those things to the meanest teacher in school,” one of them said.
“Really? I thought the meanest teacher was Coach Kelly,” I said, speaking from personal experience.
“God, kid. You really don’t know the definition of mean, do you?” he said.
“I guess not,” I replied.
Ella was high fiving me, too. Those were the high fives I cherished the most. When I told my mom, she was furious. But I was so happy, I just loved it. My mom said she sent an email to my teacher to apologize, but I’m sure he knew I didn’t mean it.
Dear Mr. Colan,
I am so sorry that my son has disrespected you so much. I assure you that I will have a stern talk with him to ensure that this will never happen again. I will be sure that due to my son’s disruptive behavior, there will be consequences.
Evelin Marcus McDonald
My Mom made me take a picture of the email and made it my screensaver on every device that I have ever used. She was the worst mom ever. The next day at school, the jock that high fived me came and sat with me and Ella. His name was Oliver. I could tell he was sick of all his so-called friends because they only cared about looks. In other words, they were meanies. After lunch, Ella, Oliver, and I went down to the library to do our homework.
“You guys, only nerds hang out here,” Oliver said.
“No, only good students hang out here,” Ella snapped back at him.
Ella always knew what to say to everybody. When we walked out of the library, we saw posters for the Snowball dance. Then right there I got on my knees and asked Ella to go to the Snowball dance with me. I was feeling so nervous. What if she said no? There was so much to worry about.
About a week later, at exactly 6:13 P.M., I honked at Ella’s door. Then she came out in a beautiful pink dress with tons of makeup. She was like an angel who fell from heaven and came down just to make me happy. Then we got into the car and drove to the dance. When we got there, the slow songs were already playing. We started dancing. Both of us were speechless. She put her hands on my shoulders, and at the end of the dance, we shared a small kiss. And I realized something, I didn’t want to be clean, I wanted to be loved. And the funny thing is that now that I have her, I can’t imagine how I survived without her.
You want to know what happened next, don’t you?
Howie McDonald: Howie McDonald proposed to Ella nine years later, but Ella said no. He tried again four years later, and Ella eventually said yes. Howie became a pediatrician and warned children about germs all around the world. Which is kind of ironic because, well, you know why.
Ella: Ella had her wedding with Howie in July. She had a baby boy five years later. She named him August. Two years later, a set of twins came into their life. One girl and one boy named Eve and Steve. Ella became a preschool teacher after college.
Oliver: Oliver stopped hanging out with the mean kids and hung out with the chess geeks. He became one of the most well-known chess champions in North America. He was also the best man for Howie’s wedding.
Bully: The mean bully was caught shoplifting and got thrown in jail for five years. He was released for good behavior.
Evelin Marcus McDonald: She hung out with her daughter-in-law every week and had more than 1000 trips to the spa.
Mr. Colan: At age 84, Mr. Colan went into retirement in Palm Springs. He became a golf instructor.
Coach Kelly: He became an actor and taught kids how to sing and rap.
Mr. Smith: He stayed a drama teacher for the rest of his life. As he says, the show must go on.