PROMPT RESPONSE: BE HATEFUL, NOT GRATEFUL
Three Things That Have Scarred Me for Life
Disastrous butterflies, dubious doctors and dripping ding dongs
For this prompt response, we are going to use the word, “hateful” as a synonym for (1) mildly annoying, (2) mildly amusing in a slightly negative way, or (3) mildly offensive to one or other of my senses.
And you, dear reader, get to decide what number I would attribute to each anecdote.
Won’t that be awesome, interactive fun for you?
When I was about eight years old, I learned about Siamese Twins!
I was over-the-top fascinated that things could go so awry with living things.
Not long after that discovery, I was playing in the yard when I came across two butterflies joined together.
I jumped to an obvious conclusion.
Deftly cutting a twig off the plant on which the Siamese butterflies were sitting, I popped my prize into a jar with appropriate holes punched in the lid and rushed inside to share my excitement.
I should have guessed something was amiss when my father gave me a crooked smile and suggested I take my prize around the neighbourhood to share with all the grownups that might answer their doors.
I think I was about six doors in when my Siamese butterflies came unstuck.
It took only a few minutes for me to understand my rookie error — I did know about such things — consequently, I felt like crawling into a large bottle without air holes punched in the lid!
To make matters worse, I discovered a notation in my autograph book some days later.
If in the spring, you want a surprise …
Just look for Siamese butterflies!
I still have the autograph book and I still cringe just a little when I read his only ever written gift to me.
Fast forward to this century.
Recently, I had a largish discoloured blemish on my ear.
A couple of family members suggested I ought to see a skin doctor to make sure there was nothing ominous going on.
Dee, my hubby, has a lifetime history of squillions of skin cancers. He collects skin doctors wherever we go. The latest one has an office in our usual medical centre, so on Dee’s insistence, I called and made an appointment.
I was going for an ear consult, right? Right!
The doc called me in and as I was passing the threshold to his surgery, I had a horrifying premonition. Skin doctors usually start with a full-body scan. He might insist on a scan!
Scans mean disrobing. Not happening, Sunshine!
I had not paid attention to my underwear. Horrors, my undies were not a matching set! Horrors, I don’t do naked these days outside of my own home, unless I am completely anesthetized and oblivious to the sniggering!
I entered the older age doctor’s room and launched forcefully into my ear issue.
The doc examined my ear and told me I had a new, innocuous ‘age spot’.
“Now get your clothes off, I need to do a scan!”
In response, I spluttered. In my mind, the man had just said, “I’m a grubby old dude just waiting for a mature woman to come along that I can run my hands over and have a perv. Perks of the job, you know!”
“How long since your last scan?” he asked, accent thick with — well, (Russian?) accent.
“Never,” I whispered, suddenly feeling about the same age as when I discovered the Siamese butterflies.
“This is Queensland for goodness’ sake! Come on, come on. Clothes off. On the couch.”
I have no idea why I complied, except that the man is Dee’s doctor and I didn’t want to make things difficult.
You can be assured that I was monitoring that man’s hands, among other body parts, for any signs of impropriety.
When the scan was over, I rapidly dressed and left the surgery, head down, tail tucked firmly in my discrepant undies, feeling violated even though I wasn’t.
Just as well I was wearing unmatched undies — heaven knows, I didn’t want to encourage the man!
My indignity returns whenever I recall that event!
Let’s pop back in time to another “hateful” occurrence.
I was a very young married person, sharing a converted two-story old house that had been divided into four flats — two up and two down.
The flats were all self-contained except for bathroom facilities. The occupants of the four flats had to share their chinky-toe-rot and lingering stench of fannies and feet!
One day my husband at the time disappeared to have a shower. He seemed to be taking a long time and dinner was beginning to show signs of rigor mortis.
I hurried down to the bathroom and pushed open the unlocked door to hurry him along. He was standing, busily drying his head with a bath towel.
I knew better than to ‘nag’ about a meal going cold, so I playfully grabbed the nearest dangly object, pulled briskly, up and down, announcing in a sing-songy voice, “Ding, dong, dinner’s on!”
“Jesus!” announced a completely unfamiliar voice. The towel came down in surprise and I fled the bathroom, cheeks flaming.
I don’t remember why my husband wasn’t where he was supposed to be, but the story quickly did the rounds of the building.
We moved shortly thereafter!
I will finish this article with a small list of hateful events for you to consider:
- Mistaking toothpaste for a feminine product.
- Mistaking antiseptic cream for toothpaste (you see a theme there?).
- Spraying the lawn grubs with weed-killer and annihilating the only piece of lawn you possess.
- Buying armloads of Asian lilies because they smell so nice then making your husband remove them at 3 am to the outside patio because you can’t stand the intense stink. (You seeing a theme here?)
- Twirling on stage and smacking your husband in the side of the head with a heavy bass guitar.
- Smashing your front teeth forcefully on a microphone — a regular occurrence. (Another theme).
I wrote little themes all the way through this summary. Figured if I couldn’t match my underwear, I could co-ordinate my list!
My thanks to Jennifer McDougall, a fun and dedicated editor.
Michael Burg, MD (Satire Sommelier) gave us this uplifting prompt:
A little something in a similar vein by Annie Trevaskis: