Everybody knows that Howie Mandel does not like germs. The America’s Got Talent judge and former host of Deal or No Deal has such an irrational fear of germs that he wouldn’t shake hands with contestants on his show. The closest he would get was a fist bump. Mandel suffers from mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs), but it comes to him honestly, and once you understand the origins of his mysophobia, you might better understand why he is the way he is.
First of all, both his mother and his grandmother were neat freaks. In fact, his mother was so bad that, when people came to visit Mandel when he was a baby, his mother would note where visitors touched the crib and disinfect it as soon as they left. However, that only primed Mandel for his fear of germs. One incident, relayed in his 2009 autobiography, Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me, explains the exact origins of this fear.
From a 2009 piece in the Winnipeg Free Press:
But the clincher, what undoubtedly pushed young Howie over the edge and doomed him to a germ-obsessed existence to this day, has to be what happened to him on a family trip to Florida when he was still a wee child.
A sand fly laid eggs in him, and larvae grew visibly just under the skin of his legs.
A doctor used liquid nitrogen to kill some of the larvae while medical colleagues watched; Mrs. Mandel scrubbed out the rest over several sessions at home.
Finding things growing under his skin was understandably horrifying to young Howie, and their removal was painful.
Mandel relates that whenever he thinks about those unforgettable days, “it feels as if there are organisms trying to make their way under my skin.”
If you want to know what that looks like, do a Google Search (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK), unless you value the contents in your stomatch, in which case, just take my word for it: It’s disgusting. They are insect eggs. Under the skin. Let your imagination do the work.
Anyway, whenever I think of Mandel’s germ phobia from now on, I will understand. And then I will bathe in bleach and wrap myself in saran wrap so that no one ever touches me again.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press