The One Where Mom Learns About “Gerbilling”.

Holy cannoli. My family is so weird. I mean, everyone’s family is weird, but mine has shining moments of bizarre-ness that make you wonder if we have alien DNA somewhere.

Actually, my cousin Marjorie is in town to do geneology stuff–both sides of the family are wild about figuring out where we come from. Last I heard, I was related to John (but not his brother Henry) Adams, Merriwether Lewis (friend of Clark), Charlemagne, Constantine (and probably Attila the Hun, as he was so dang fertile and all). Lots of ‘your google-grand-relation was the first governor of [insert Embarrassing State To Be Governor Of here]’. ‘Your google-great-grand-relation came over on the Earl Of Dunleavy, a frigate, during the great poTAHto famine in Ireland’. ‘Your French google-great-grandaunt letched after an Italian boy half her age (go, Grandaunt!) and married him, it was roMANtic’.Our first relative actually arrived in the early 1600s from Wales, which means we have been here a very long time.  Okay, so those are cool examples. They leave out the more recent examples of high-functioning alcoholics who get tanked and decide to chainsaw picture windows into their cabins during raging snowstorms on a whim. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, my mom had to go in for her annual Boob Mashing. We’d recently had a rather energetic conversation about how it really sucked that women have to get their bazooms pancaked between two cold steel plates in order to detect nasties like cancer. Men don’t have to get their testicles mushed between two steel plates. Oh no. If they did, they’d be warmed and fur-lined steel plates. In fact, no more stinky pinky checking for tumours either–they get their blood drawn and checked and IF something wacky appears, then they get an MRI. Why can’t we get MRIs? Harrrumph. I think gravity is only half the story behind why older women have their boobies drooping to their beltline. They mash them like dough under a rolling pin, people! Of course they are going to be less perky after that. Duh!

Anyway, mom went in for her titty torture appointment and some knobhead receptionist called her up and left a scary message on her answering machine. (What an ASS, right?) Mom would have to go back in for a re-check, something was amiss. There was a smudge on the X-rays that would have to be examined more closely. Now my mom could win the Gold if there was an Olympic sport category for worrying about crap. The dumber the crap, the better. Giving her something possibly serious to worry about just gets her to shift to a higher gear.

Here’s an example. We’re having all kinds of Bug Issues in this Piece Of Poop house, and, predictably, when it was seasonally appropriate for ants to swarm, we got a mess of them invading the house. Termites (which are bad) look a little like winged ants (which are not as bad). I did my homework, determined that it was the wrong place and season for swarms of termites, plus they looked more like the photos of winged ants than termites, and thus I went to bed happily content that the exterminator would verify that they were indeed ants. I slept like the dead, blissfully content, not thinking ever again about the goddamned winged ants. But I made the mistake of mentioning to my mom on the phone that I planned to show these things to the exterminator. Even if they aren’t termites, I hate wiping up bug carcasses constantly. Bugs belong in The Out, not In The House. The Out is anywhere that is NOT inside my domicile. That is where bugs should be. In The Out. Far from me. Not lurking about while I’m trying to eat, bathe or sleep.

Well, predictably, my mom stays up for two nights straight, convinced that we have termites. The termites have already eaten the house. The house will have to be condemned. I will be homeless. We’ll have to go on ‘The Welfare’ and stuff because of the fucking termites (which, as you recall, didn’t actually even exist) literally eating us out of house and home. We’ll have to sell some of our less-vital internal organs to pay the government to tear down the termite-gnawed house. (Her worries make no damn sense.)

So she gets home and gets this rather ambiguous phone call and promptly decides that she has flesh-eating bacteria or cancer or a Guinea Worm or kryptonite poisoning or something and so she is obviously due to drop dead any moment now. Because it wouldn’t occur to her to calm down and be logical and rational and optimistic and, um, wait for the doctor to conform what the (non-medically-trained and notably cotton-brained) receptionist has said.

For whatever reason, I’m spared the drama (for once), and am blissfully unconscious in my warm and cozy bed while my mom drives visiting cousin Marjorie out of her mind fretting that she’s at death’s door. (Note that cousin Marjorie has not been back to visit since.) I know nothing about it until I get a mobile phone call in the middle of my class the next day. She knew I was in class, mind you. And, typically, she says that we can’t do what we’d planned to do with cousin Marjorie (go see the new art museum), and she’ll tell me why later. Top this inadequate info with a heavy frosting of doom and gloom and drama. *click* Gah! I hate when she does that!!

Over dinner the whole drama comes out. It was nothing, it was a smudge. I don’t blame her for being freaked, okay. My grandmother just passed, and the cause of her dead was cancer. My grandmother smoked for almost 80 years, though. The fact that she didn’t have any cancer until 1999 was a miracle. My mother is anal-retentively healthy. She’d eat tofu if she wasn’t afraid her fellow Republicans would shun her.

So while the three of us are fussing about the hassles involved with boob checks, somehow the conversation turns to Butts And Things That Shouldn’t Be Up In There. Cousin Marjorie was a nurse. I am trying to backtrack to figure out when the conversation took this detour, and I think we were still fussing about the fact that men were now getting fingers up the butt less and less often, but now women had to have fingers up the butt for other preventive maintenance…I suspect colon health, given the location. You know? Lots of discussion about The Butt being an exit and not an entrance. Hemorrhoids. (I went over 25 years not knowing precisely what one was, and when I found out, I was sorry.) Luckily we were finished eating at this point. There were some pregnancy horror stories that made me resolve to get my tubes tied sometime early next week. Blood, pain, hemorrhoids, stuff going in and out of the butt that shouldn’t be.

I fought back with stories about how I had to do research in the ophthalmology library (where I worked for ages), and shared the results of the research into psychotics who think it’s jolly good fun to pull their own eyes out. One such article proudly featured images of the eyeball trailing its optic nerve and the sixteen kitchen implements this particular nutburger had used to achieve the goal. I still have shudderfits over that one.

This led to Marjorie telling stories about crazy people putting Sucrets boxes full of barrettes up their cootchies: “Gotta save those barrettes from the thought police! I know; I’ll hide them up my yoohoo. No one will think to look there, not even when my yoohoo begins to do horrible things, like rot. And they said crazy people couldn’t think up good plans. Ha! I rule!”

I misunderstood and thought she was talking about putting things up the back end. Which led to a long and rather amusing discussion about Stuff People Put Up Their Butt That Doesn’t Belong There. Cousin Marjorie soon confidently declared that the most popular item to stuff up the pooper is a paper towel roll tube. “Oh no,” I thought. “Here it comes…”

Sure enough, Marjorie believed the gerbil stuffing tales. Gah.

Mom was treated to the tired old Richard Gere ‘gerbilling’ urban legend and then firmly advised that it was fiction, thank you. All I need is for mom to start telling that old nugget to all her buddies. It’s not even all that funny any more.

Now, people do put an extraordinary amount of bizarre crap up inside themselves. In the television show ER, there are several references to rectal foreign bodies, such as when Dr. Peter Benton holds up a lower abominal x-ray with a flashlight lodged in it, noting, “The patient claimed that he fell on it while changing a lightbulb. Naked.” Another episode had a medical student asking Dr. John Carter about the oddest object removed from a rectum. Dr. Carter responds that it was a bowling trophy.

Cousin Marjorie shared with us the story of her friend (of a friend?) who somehow managed to fall backwards onto a table with Christmas taper candles set on top of it. The candle magically managed to bull’s-eye her backside THROUGH the pants she was wearing. Hmmm. No. No, I don’t buy it. What I would buy is that things got out of hand, or it was up there and THEN she fell. Without pants on. It allegedly perforated her colon, she had to have (an eventually reversable) colonoscopy bag. She was also extremely embarrassed.

My mom, having faced the horror of gerbil stuffing, makes up her mind quickly. “I don’t believe her.”

You have to give her credit, she ASSimilated (hee!) all this new and disgusting information rather quickly and decided that it was improbable that a Christmas taper wound up wodged What What In The Butt accidentally. Through a pair of pants, mind you. (My mom took my side in an argument! Call the press!)

Next week I should send her the link to the Things Found In Butts (That Don’t Naturally Occur Inside Butts) page, complete with X-rays and scholarly medical journal articles. If it keeps her from telling gory pregnancy horror stories while I’m trying to eat my dinner, it will be worth it.

Pepper pot in the rectum. On removal it was found to be inscribed 'A present from Margate' (Dr. L.S. Carstairs, Royal Northern Hospital, London.)

Pepper pot in the rectum. On removal it was found to be inscribed ‘A present from Margate’ (Dr. L.S. Carstairs, Royal Northern Hospital, London.)

Man, you can find ANYTHING on the Internet these days.

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6 thoughts on “The One Where Mom Learns About “Gerbilling”.

  1. Caryn says:

    You forgot “Scrubs” and the ass box…which, is sadly, exactly what it sounds like. A box full of stuff removed from people’s asses.

    I am so looking forward to my ER rotations…I see it full of removing foreign bodies from all sorts of orifices…

    As for your bug issue, try diatomaceous earth (food-grade, not pool-grade). A lot of specialty pet stores sell it or you can get it off of amazon. Kills ants, termites, roaches, and fleas. Plus it’s safe for pets to walk through :). It’s the only thing that got rid of the flea problem that my apt. had in Savannah, and I used it to kill roaches in my last place.

    • britpoptarts says:

      I didn’t see that episode of Scrubs (I was usually working when it was on first run, back in the day).

      I was going to say “I tried that!” but I probably bought the wrong kind. Who knew there were KINDS? Thanks for the PROTIP.

  2. wonderbink says:

    They leave out the more recent examples of high-functioning alcoholics who get tanked and decide to chainsaw picture windows into their cabins during raging snowstorms on a whim. I’m just sayin’.

    What amuses me the most about that line is that I know you’re not exaggerating.

  3. Rachel Fives says:

    Hahahahaaha! The gerbil up the ass story was SO ’80’s! Hasn’t your cousin seen Jackass? Geez – at least those anal-obsessed guys evolved to the higher level and went right for the Matchbox cars.

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