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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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The Germ Freak....

The Germ Freak

Recently, while waiting in a doctor's waiting room, I was forced by boredom to flip through one of those heath magazines written specifically for doctor's waiting rooms. It somewhat reminded me of a high school health education class, with a few horrifying differences.

The magazine was about germs and how we are subjected to viruses and other diseases in everyday life. First of all, I found out that my desk at work is a disease-laden den of filth. The telephone is the filthiest object in my office, followed by my desktop and then my computer keyboard. According to the magazine, I need to clean everything twice with a disinfecting wipe to rid it of the germs.

It went on to tell how public restrooms are the epitome of the disease-harboring perils in life. Fortunately, there is practical advice on how to avoid subjecting myself to the germs waiting there to infect me, advice such as, "Use the first stall as it tends to be bypassed and used less," therefore, it has fewer germs hanging around waiting for hapless victims.

Secondly, studies by bathroom spies found that most people do not wash their hands. Of those that do, most do not use soap or do not wash long enough to rid their hands of germs picked up from door locks, faucets, and door knobs. I must be sure to wash, wash, wash and not to touch anything on the way out except with a paper towel or the bathroom spies will report me.

I should not shake hands with anyone or touch handrails on escalators or stairs. I should not press elevator buttons expect with my elbow. Few people will be impressed by my politeness when I refuse to shake hands, so it is necessary to make up some sort of lie, such as, "I have a cold and I'm trying to avoid spreading germs." If I fall down the escalator and break a leg trying to avoid touching the handrail, remember the positive side, at least I won't have the flu.

Another prime place to catch disease germs is from grocery store shopping carts. Not only do many unwashed hands touch the handles of these carts, people put their children in them, children who wipe snotty noses ands and then touch the same handle that is used to push the cart. I am not exactly certain how to push a cart without touching the handle or how select produce without touching it with the same hands I use to push the cart, but this is the ideal.

Even the air is polluted with germs. People who sneeze without covering their nose spray germs into the air to be breathed in by other people who then catch their cold. In fact, anyone within three feet of a person with a virus will most likely be breathing their germs, especially in spaces with poor ventilation or where people are in close contact. I am trying to hold my breath as much as possible, but am starting to feel like a germ freak.

I wonder exactly how we are supposed to protect ourselves from all these germs penetrating every aspect of life? My entire world is an infectious disease waiting to create an illness. It is enough to make a person into a germ-a-phobic who spends half the day in the bathroom washing hands.

I've been paranoid about germs every since I saw that magazine. But, my throat still felt a little scratchy this morning and I am afraid that I might sneeze before I have time to grab a tissue. How can that be when I've been opening doors with my elbow and wiping everything in site with disinfecting wipes?

I really don't know how I could possibly have caught a virus -- unless the person who read the doctor's office magazine before me sneezed on it or didn't wash their hands.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss


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