Any fully mature Prude considers redundancy and repetitiveness to be anathema. In other words, good Prudes dislike poor paragraph structure. Which is why The Prude comes before you today with head bowed in shame. In re-reading yesterday’s post, she sees that she used the phrase ‘at this point’ 3 times in 5 sentences. This is unacceptable. Obviously The Prude was off her game. (Unless, of course, it is an early manifestation of dementia.)
And this brings us to the point of today’s post (please notice I didn’t say ‘at this point’).
The Prude’s proofreading left something to be desired yesterday because her son called to inform her that he was ill. With a fever. And a headache. And a sore neck. And of course (at this point) The Prude realized he must have Meningitis and she spent the rest of the day calling him and waking him from a sound sleep to have him check if he could bend his head to his chest.
The Prude is a hypochondriac. A RAGING HYPOCHONDRIAC. She can trace it back to watching ‘Marcus Welby MD’ when she was an extremely innocent 11-year-old Prudling, convinced she had syphilis. She couldn’t understand her mother’s reaction to the disclosure (unmitigated hilarity). The Prude learned quickly that hypochondriacs do not watch medical dramas. She has never seen 'St. Elsewhere', 'Doogie Howser MD', 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman', 'Scrubs', 'Grey’s Anatomy' or 'House'.
The condition grew exponentially worse during childbearing and rearing. During pregnancy, 2 simultaneous kicks in opposite directions meant the baby must have 4 legs. As the children grew (with only 2 legs apiece) she spent many hours diagnosing their symptoms.
Not thirsty? Rabies. Too thirsty? Type 2 diabetes.
Too long a nap? Sleeping sickness. Not tired? Insomniac.
Pale and tired? Jungle fever. Cheeks too rosy? Tuberculosis.
A rash could mean scabies, a sore was leprosy, and swollen lymph nodes must be elephantiasis.
Hypochondria, left unchecked, develops a related condition as yet un-named. We can call it Worst-Case-Scenariosis. If my child walked near the edge of the Grand Canyon I was convinced a landslide would occur at that very moment at the very place the child stood. I would debate the propriety of checking the batteries in the smoke and carbon detectors at homes where my children participated in sleepovers, and sweeping the area for radioactive materials. Swimming in a pool could expose them to chlorine-resistant bacteria, swimming in lakes meant unknown creatures could nibble their toes, rivers had currents, the ocean had riptides and Jaws.
A whole new world of anxiety opened when they learned to drive. Instructions included:
‘Watch out for deer and drunk drivers and wild turkeys that fly into your windshield’
‘It is windy today. Don’t drive alongside semis- they will tip over on you.’
‘It is raining today. Don’t hydroplane, and watch for hippo-sized potholes to open in the road under you.’
‘It is snowing today. Stay home till May.’
The Prude has mercifully restrained from steering you into the entire iceberg of symptoms and what-ifs. She has only jabbed you with the tip. If you are feeling a little sore and tender right now, be warned. You may have rickets.