Monday, February 4, 2008

Blame Sunday School, or My Parents

I've had the stomach flu all weekend and now it's Monday and I still have it. Although today is better; I seem to be able to eat a little bit more, although my stomach is still having difficulty communicating clearly to my brain. Sometimes it tells me that I am hungry, when I am in fact queasy, and sometimes it tells me that I am queasy, when in fact I am hungry.

This all started on Thursday, actually, but I thought for the first 24 hours or so that I was just having an overblown nervous reaction to the prospect of The Date. But after I thoroughly enjoyed myself Friday, sans alcohol or other puke-inducing foods, and still felt on Saturday morning like a butter churner had taken residence in my stomach, I realized that I was sick.

I've decided to blame Sunday School for this turn of events; more particularly, the presence of snacks at Sunday School, and my partaking thereof.

Last week, one of the kids brought strawberry and raspberry Newtons to share, and another brought a very chocolatey, pretzely trail mix. The kids took SIX NEWTONS APIECE, whereupon I said they each needed to put at least two back, as I didn't think their parents were sending them to Sunday School to get sugared up. (Of course, even four seems excessive, but they're all pretty skinny and on the cusp of adolescence, and not letting them have four might have been condemning them to starve to death by the third hymn. Or, at least, that is probably what they would have told me if they'd decided to put words to their thoughts.)

This was where I made my mistake. See, I was hungry, too, but did I take my cookies during the initial distribution? No. I waited until each of the kids, hands unwashed, deposited their surplus cookes back in the Newtons packages. And then I took two.

Anyone in foodservice will tell you this is a great way to transmit the stomach flu (though if they'd recently completed their food safety food certification, they would probably be more specific and say, "It's not actually the flu; people call it the flu but the symptoms are really caused by viruses like the norovirus or bacteria like schigella" -- and then you could show your appreciation for their specificity by barfing on their shoes).

All this reminds me of how I learned the word "puke." My mother, brother, sister and I were on a road trip to Italy in the early 1980s. (We lived in the Netherlands at the time, hence the ability to drive to the Great Boot.) My sister wrote a letter to my dad mentioning that we had watched The Dukes of Hazzard, our favorite TV show, at one of the hotels.

When we returned home to Rotterdam, Dad said that when he'd first read Dukes of Hazzard, he'd thought it said Pukes of Hazzard. Mom thought this was hilarious and couldn't stop laughing. Neither my sister nor I knew what "puke" meant, and if my brother knew, he wasn't telling. So mom kindly explained the joke.

This is one of the peculiarities of growing up overseas. You have to rely on your parents, rather than your peers, to teach you the taboo words of childhood.

Oh, yes, my mom is also the one who taught me the "worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout" song.

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