Friday, July 29, 2011
Rememberies Volume 3: Allergies
For as long as I can remember I have had a bullshit detector. Typically if/when someone is handing me a line of crap I know. Further, I can generally tell when someone is bolstering a story in order to make themselves seem more intelligent or clever than they actually are. On very rare occasions my BS detector rings the alarm incorrectly. It is so rare in fact, that I can't remember it being wrong within the last 15 years. But this isn't a story about how right I am all the time (there will be plenty of those in the future) this is a story about error of nearly the highest order.
Way back in the late 1980's I was in grade school, first grade. I was a shining star of about 7 years old at the top of my class. I had graduated from the fat red pencils that kids in kindergarten had to use. You know the thick kind that children wrap up in their meaty fists before they adequately become aware of the usefulness of their thumbs? Anyway, I was a number 2 pencil kind of guy. I could both read and write. When I coloured, it was in the lines AND I used colours common to the subject matter (i.e. a tree was coloured green and brown not orange and purple). I was an upper echelon kinda kid, I had words like cyclone and appetite in my lexicon. Further, my teacher had complex math problems posted on a pushpin board and I just so happened to know that 20x20=400. Yep, I was a child prodigy, a budding genius. But my meteoric rise to the top almost came to a crashing halt one fateful day.
Busy (absent) parents were glad to find out that my school allowed kids to stay at school during lunch. Better still, it was a supervised lunch monitored by a staff member who went from classroom to classroom to periodically check to make sure everyone was okay. The older kids either went home for lunch or were relegated to the gymnasium where they could pick any spot on the floor and fill their faces with whatever mess slathered between two pieces of bread that they brought with them. I was a youngster so I was locked within the confines of the classroom to insure I wasn't a danger to myself or others. Thankfully one of my friends was in the same class as me and he too ate lunch at school.
In order to protect the innocent, I'll just call him Chad. Chad was a little black kid and I was a little white boy. We would later go on to become best friends but at this time in first grade, we did not yet know each other too well. I don't remember what we used to talk about, it was probably something inane like the Socratic method or world politics.
I had a habit of trading food with people. I never had the greatest currency to trade (fruit rollups, soda licious, cakes or candy of any kind) what I did have however was copious amounts of orange drink. Orange drink as you know, is not quite orange juice and not quite kool-aid, it is some mysterious blend in between. Thankfully, many people who were not me enjoyed orange drink greatly and I was able to Yankee swap it for some more desirable consumables.
One strange day some poor idiotic sod in my family purchased peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. In order to teach them a lesson a quickly stole a handful and inserted them into my California Raisins backpack and took them to school. When it was finally lunch time I whipped out a soggy peanut butter and jam sandwich and quickly choked a few bites down before slam dunking the soiled mess into the garbage can. After that, I produced the coveted PB and CC cookies.
I looked over at my friend Chad who was happily munching away on a Little Debbie Swiss Roll. A little prideful I said to him "Hey, look at these!" while pointing at my cookies. "Hmm.." He said. I anticipated a lot more excitement for cookies besides "Hmm.." "Don't you want a cookie?" I said. "They look like peanut butter cookies" He said. "I'm allergic to peanut butter." He said. I thought to myself "What the hell does allergic mean and who the hell is allergic to peanut butter?" He obviously just wanted to reject me and my cookies and he was making up a convenient excuse for not wanting them. The following is what happened:
Me: Are you sure you don't want a cookie?
Him: I'm allergic to peanut butter.
Me: It's just a chocolate chip cookie.
Him: Does it have peanut butter in it?
Him: Are you sure?
Him: Okay, I guess I'll try it.
Me: *Hands him a cookie*
Him: *Takes cookie, stares at it cautiously*
Him: *Slowly takes a bite, chews twice*
Me: It's Peanut Butter!!!!
Instantly Chad stopped chewing stood up and began barfing up the cookie, everything Little Debbie had to offer and any other food or drink that he consumed previous to that, in a chocolate brown pile on the floor. Between stomach spasms he looked over at me with his eyes bulging out of his skull. He huffed and puffed and kept saying "Who-AH!" kinda like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. I began to look around for help but the hall monitor was nowhere to be found. All I saw was about 8 pairs of 7 year old eyes staring at Chad horrified as he continued to heave on top of a massive pile of sick. I stood there frozen in terror. Was he dying? probably.
At some point, an adult arrived and told me to get the garbage can. I think by that time most of the barfing had subsided and Chad had begun crying. Thankfully, he wasn't dead and he was feeling good enough to point at me and say "He made me eat a peanut butter cookie." To which I gave the teacher a "What the hell do I know I'm 7 look." To which she gave a "I can't believe I'm going to have to clean up this giant pile of vomit and not be able to scream at someone while I do it look."
The lesson here kids is that every once in a while your BS detector might not function correctly. When this happens make sure that you aren't forcing someone to do something that they don't really want to do THAT MIGHT KILL THEM. For the record Chad survived and he went on to live a happy and healthy life as far as I know. I never again offered him anything with peanuts. In fact, I don't think I ever brought up any peanut related topic with him ever again.