#191 – Image Obsessions

It’s tough enough being a teenager under normal circumstances. For a kid with an obsessive personality, those hormonal-laden years prove especially challenging. And if the boy in question also exhibits the common sense of a mollusk, he’s really in trouble!   

Fifteen-year-old “Sebastian” (not his real name) suffers compulsions regarding cleanliness and body image. As a budding germaphobe, he showers at least twice a day. He also washes his hands incessantly and keeps antiseptic gel in his school locker for freshen-ups between classes. Like many teenagers, he suffers from facial acne; yet even more so than his peers, he deems zits his personal apocalypse. After he nearly disfigured himself trying to scrub the bacteria-filled intruders from his chin and neck, his parents procured hardcore dermatological procedures to eradicate all evidence of his outbreaks.

Until yesterday, Sebastian’s second most detested feature was a certain mole; and not just any old mole, but one prominently placed on his testicle. I’ve never seen it of course, but I’ve heard enough about it. Although he’s despised this scrotal bump for as long as he could remember, he didn’t think to take action against it until he acquired his first girlfriend.

Somehow, Sebastian convinced himself that the sight of his mole will disgust his new sweetheart so much that she’ll immediately dump him. (I’ll refrain for the moment from editorializing on a fifteen-year-old girl being in a position to closely inspect her boyfriend’s balls.) Frantic to prevent such a disaster, he initially requested permission for a dermatologist’s intervention. His parents refused at first, considering the removal of a testicular mole unnecessary. They held their ground on the issue until their son’s failed attempt at self-help changed their minds.

While readying himself for school yesterday morning, Sebastian attempted to conceal his offending blemish by folding adjacent skin over it and holding the skin in place with super glue. The idiotic plan failed, however.  Even worse, after spilling glue, the unfortunate lad accidentally cemented his balls to the top of his bedroom desk! 

Sebastian didn’t realize nail polish remover can dissolve super glue. Nor did he think to call for help or use his laptop to research the issue. Rather, in panic at the fear of his mother barging in, he opted for immediate action. He grabbed his man-berries with both hands and gave a mighty yank. Though managing to free himself from the desktop, he left behind a substantial chunk of fuzzy skin in the process. His parents figured the doctor needed to repair the injured area anyway, so they went the extra mile and instructed him to remove the mole as well.

I heard the whole absurd story last night, from Sebastian’s father. Incredibly, he blamed me for his son’s accident and “suggested” that I pay for yesterday’s visit to the doctor. I didn’t consider myself legally or morally responsible though. As I told him: “I didn’t know anything about your son’s obsessions; and I also had no idea he meant to use super glue on his balls … when he asked if he could borrow my bottle.”

 
Nail polish remover: not everyone knows it works great on super glue too.

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