Once, I was in my best friend’s car as she was backing up. I was watching her with interest because she wasn’t even looking behind her, really, and yet her foot was on the pedal and she was driving backwards, albeit slowly.
Suddenly, there was a beeping noise and she stopped and put the car back into DRIVE.
“What was that?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s the signal that tells me there’s something behind me and I need to stop backing up.”
My jaw dropped. “And you trust that thing? That—that—machine?”
“Um…yeaaaah,” she said slowly.
I was appalled. “What if stops working, Leigh? What if the dinger breaks all of a sudden, and you are relying on it one day when there happens to be a kid behind you as you’re backing up? And then you hit the kid and kill him, ruining the family’s lives—not to mention your own, as you’ll be hauled off to the big house for involuntary manslaughter for the rest of your life! Have you thought about that, Leigh?”
Of course, it was not enough for my brain to simply place another car back there for my best friend to get into a fender bender with, or even a child who simply gets a fractured leg bone. No. In the scenario that my Morbidity Complex gave me, someone had to get killed off.
My best friend stared at me for a moment. “Dear God,” she said. "Do you always think like a pscycho?”
I nodded. “Except I just like to call it ‘being overly cautious,’” I said a little bit defensively.
“It must be exhausting,” Leigh said sympathetically.
Once, I was at my older sister’s house and she complained about a swollen gland.
“Oh my gosh,” I said, tears springing to my eyes. “Should I start planning your funeral?”
My older sister looked at me strangely. “Um, no, I don’t think so,” she replied. “The doctor said I have a cold. It’s just excess drainage.”
Then there was the time that I got really sick and couldn’t even hold down any liquid medicine. I was 17 years old, and my dad and sister were driving me to the hospital. I remember lying in the front seat of the car, which was reclined all the way back. I was so gallant.
“I think…” I whispered, “…I think that God is calling me home. Could someone call a priest to meet us at the hospital and say my last rites?”
When we got into the hospital room, they didn’t even call a doctor to come and see me. The nurse on the afternoon shift breezed in cheerfully, hooked a bag of fluid up to a pole next to me, and chirped, “Just a little dehydrated, sweetie. We’ll just get some fluids in you and you’ll be on your way home.”
It was all a little disappointing, if you ask me.
And then once, I felt a pain on the side of my head. I was too freaked out to google “symptoms of an aneurysm,” but I did disclose my fears to the doctor when I made an appointment a few days later.
“Ah, no,” he said, swiping my fears away with a quick hand motion. “It’s just a sinus headache. A little Benadryl should fix you right up.”
The other day, I was filling up our inflatable pool for my boys when I noticed this:
I felt a kinship to our little pool. Obviously the poor thing suffers from the same Morbidity Complex as I do. I’m thinking of getting it some pills or something.
I’d be on them myself, in fact, if I hadn’t heard that you aren’t supposed to drink while taking them.
Why does my best friend have to be all knowledgeable about that kind of shit, anyway? If it weren’t for her, my little pool and I would be chasing prescription anxiety pills with gulps of Riesling, blissfully unaware of our surroundings—including anything dangerous, scary, or morbid.
You know what? I’m still mad at my best friend for getting her version of our stupid matchingcollegiate tattoos re-done without me, anyway.
I’m totally breaking up with her.