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Even Well Adjusted People Have These Secrets

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Many people are secretly ashamed about their age, income and weight-especially when they're going in the wrong directions. But here are some other things many people are ashamed of but rarely admit.

Family Shame

So many people are ashamed of their relatives that if it weren't for the command performances of the winter holidays many might drift out of touch with them like old roommates or people who sign your yearbook. It is no better in the immediate family where kids are usually ashamed of their parents until their late teens and parents can be ashamed of their kids long after that.

Pet shame

Everyone knows that pets are part of the family but few want to admit spending $1,500 on Max's cruciate rupture or Jake's cataract surgery. Few also want to admit using a "poop patrol" service for their backyard or doggie day care. Nor does anyone want to admit the hygienic black hole known as sleeping with your pet, even though everyone does it. (The pet bird version is: letting a bird perch on your shoulder so long enough that the inevitable happens.)

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Car shame

While you're lucky to have a car at all and could be riding mass transit, car shame hits men especially hard. After all, few blame a woman if her car emits white smoke or the engine knocks. They blame her mechanic - or the man in her life. No wonder men become veritable Martha Stewarts about their cars - not just the body but its interior. The same man who has never wiped a counter in his own house will vacuum the seats, wash the floor mats, Windex the windows and refresh the air. And don't even think of leaving dirty fingerprints....

Dental shame

Because going to the dentist is expensive, scary and often painful, many people avoid regular checkups until a dental "event" happens. Then, on top of a root canal, crown or other uninsured surgery and lab work, they have to be ashamed over the dental denial that made this happen. And there's even a second rung of dental shame: So many people have lasered their teeth blinding white, that if you haven't, your teeth look gray. Thanks for that.

House shame

Even before the "underwater" crisis, houses offer endless opportunities for embarrassment-including location, price and upkeep shame. Men lose sleep over aging roofs, sinking concrete, and neglected landscaping and women lose sleep over aging kitchens, carpets and neglected housework. Both lose sleep over the aesthetic contributions that Max and Jake are making to the house.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

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