You know how we all kid when we’re talking about how before someone was born they missed the brain train, or looks train, or whatever?
Don’t read me in that tone, you know we’ve all done it.
Well, I took the W train where ‘W’ means weird.
Not that I’m weird.
Okay, I may be just a bit weird.
Alright, a LOT weird.
But, my body..my body is weird in so many ways.
Like the time everyone in the family got pink eye, except me. I got cellulitis and the ophthalmologist treating me was so excited (giddy, actually) to see it he dragged out the huge book of “Eye Diseases: Things That Look Horrid and Can Kill” (I may have made up that title) to excitedly tell me that he’d heard of this in school, but never thought he’d see it. It being the bacteria marching through my eye and headed to my brain (it stopped before the brain, thank God, or I’d be posting this from the hereafter).
Or the time I got strep throat, tested positive for it, and my tonsils had been gone for over 40 years. Or when I got mono, from one of my grandchildren, or when I got mumps twice, or when my skin turned green as a Martian and one side of my neck (lymph gland) looked like I’d swallowed a softball and it was lodged there, and NO ONE knew what was wrong with me..never figured it out, and no it wasn’t hepatitis.
Or the time I stopped breathing because the doctor gave me a shot of penicillin. I was three, and sick, and that’s how sick three year olds were treated in the Stone Age. That lead to a lifelong theory that I was deathly allergic to penicillin, until I did the penicillin challenge test, and yay! I’m not allergic to penicillin, but when I take it I get all puke-y, so I really didn’t gain anything.
I told the allergy doc about my weird body when I went to see her for my pineapple allergy.
Hmm…wassat? You’ve never heard of a person being allergic to pineapples?
Neither had I, or she, until I ate pineapple one day – after years of enjoying this delicious fruit without incident – and immediately found breathing terribly difficult as my throat closed.
It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but it was the first time that pineapple was the only thing I’d eaten, so it was the first time I realized that I was allergic to pineapple and not the preservatives in trail mix. You see, a few weeks before this I’d eaten a trail mix with dried fruit and nuts. It had pineapple in it and shortly after eating it my hands doubled in size and my arms, hands, neck, and face were covered in hives.
That was fun.
No, no it wasn’t, but I blamed the preservatives and swore off anything dried.
After the last episode I went to the allergy doctor and told her about the pineapple reaction.
She stared at me for at least a full minute before saying, “I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and I’ve never heard of that.”
Of course she hadn’t, but then she hadn’t known me back then.
Rather than have me test the pineapple theory, to be sure I had the allergy, she gave me an Epi-Pen to carry around.
Because, PINEAPPLE and ninja PINEAPPLE are out there, people.
I’m inclined to agree.
Just…it can’t be.
I can’t even….
Please tell me it’s not necessary for someone to post this:
My kids have suddenly discovered “organic” and “natural” and “raw” diets, and are trying desperately to raise their children like little 19th century ragamuffins. I expect, along with all processed foods, electricity will soon be banned from their homes. That is until it’s elebenty-hunnert degrees all up in here. This is Texas after all.
Hey I’m all for going organic, or orgreenic, or whatever the hell the kids call it these days. It’s just that when I was a kid we called it “go out to the garden and grab a bowlful of beans”, because that’s what we did. And then we had to snap the beans, or shell the peas, or whatever it took to rid the vegetables of the things we weren’t going to eat. Of course, after that the cook (my grandmothers in this case) would make wizardry out of those things and we’d eat till we thought we’d burst.
Anyway, whenever we could we’d run to the nearest store and load up on the foods kids really crave. Like Laffy Taffy, Slo-Pokes, Jolly Ranchers, Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, and Coke or Pepsi to wash it all down with. Except the bubble gum. It lost its flavor after about four chews, but we hung onto that shit all day; carrying it on the end of our index fingers as we ate or drank, then putting it back in our mouths to chew on getting every last bit of the putty-tasting goodness out of it we could.
Naturally, I figured my grandchildren would run straight to my candy or cookie jar the minute they broke free from the chains of organics their parents shackle them with when they’re not with us.
Boy, was I wrong.
I offered my 6-yr. old granddaughter an Oreo cookie. Manna from heaven if you ask me, but not in her mind….
“Grammy, what are these?”
“Oreos, punkin. Haven’t you ever had an Oreo?”
“Not like these. Are these the organic kind?”
“No, they’re the good kind.” I said, chuckling.
“I don’t think I should eat them. They’re not organic, so they can’t be good for me.”
“So, are you saying that there’s an organic cookie that’s like this but it’s safe to eat because it’s organic, and this one’s not?” I asked, incredulous.
“Let me see the package.”
Mind you, she’s SIX YEARS OLD.
“Okay, “ I said, handing it over to her.
“Hmmm….see?” She said after looking over the ingredients, “It has hydrogen..something. Not good.”
She’s SIX, people.
“You shouldn’t eat them either, Grammy.”
I stared at first her and then the package of cookies.
“You’re probably right.” I said, grabbing a handful and proceeding to dunk.
I’m sure this is based on the science of physics, but I prefer to think of her as a wizard.
I noticed the very elderly, very stooped, gentleman as he shuffled in front of me in the grocery store. Guessing his age to be near-90, I was actually impressed just how well he got around as he pushed the little cart along one hand gripping a small list.
As he neared the produce I noticed a grocery-store employee walk up to him, greet him warmly, and then ask to see the list. The employee then walked him to each item on the list in the produce section, helped him pick out good stuff, and placed it in the cart for him.
How nice, I thought. That’s a very good employee and store ambassador.
I turned my attention to my own list, gathering items as I wandered the aisles.
Then, I saw the elderly gentleman again. This time another employee was helping him choose just the right kind of pancake mix. I imagined his wife at home, scolding him for buying the wrong brand, and smiled at another good employee at work.
A few aisles later, again here he was and this time an employee was helping him pick out chicken pieces in the meat department.
I decided to follow more closely and pay attention, because I was pretty sure I was witnessing an extraordinary sequence of kindness..nothing random going on here.
Sure enough, as I followed along first one employee then another escorted the gentleman up and down each aisle. Pausing to allow him to rest, or showing him different items as he pointed to them and asked questions. Holding him by the elbow, supporting him, helping him, and in no hurry whatsoever.
Finally, I finished my shopping at about the same time as he did and I watched as employees flocked around him, one emptying his basket onto the conveyor belt. One bagging his groceries, and one assisting him with payment. The cashier took great care to go slowly, lest he have any questions.
By this time, it was obvious I had something in my eye..both my eyes. They were watering fiercely.
When I got to the cashier, I asked if she knew him. Shaking her head she said, “No, but he comes in here often and we try to be helpful.”
That’s all it was. No fanfare. Nothing but people being people.
News and notes from the road trip to follow. It’s always an adventure when you are me.