a swab story

Lookin’ into the face
of the goose snow cone
— the prophet aimee mann

Once, when Mo was a little girl, her sister Vicki decided she should insert a pussy willow into her nose. In Vicki’s defense, I grew up with a younger brother who was our guinea pig for similar experiments. Science, dammit, science.

Mo, being the youngest daughter, agreed, and everything went fine. Until the pussy willow became hopelessly lodged in her nostril.

The ordeal eventually ended in an emergency room or doctor’s office or an all-night Denny’s with a motherly waitress named Ramona and her magic tongs. Mo has blocked the details from her memory bank. I always thought it was a funny story.

Until today.

As part of my Tour de Mayo 2020©, I was invited to undergo a COVID-19 test this morning. I’m a journalist, mind you, so I have learned a lot over the past 23 years since the coronavirus first came to the U.S. But I dutifully crammed for the test anyhow. A little knowledge can go a long way. I’m looking at you, Wyoming.

So I pulled into the line at Mayo this morning confident I would ace the test. Except it ended up having only one question, which was this: “Are you going to cry like a baby when I stick this obscenely long object entirely too far up your nostril?” The answer, of course, being yes.

I now know what it must’ve been like for Mo when she realized the pussy willow had taken up residence in her nose. And I realized why they call it a “swab.” Because advertising it as “an invasion from hades by a long object going so far into your nostril that they pull it out of your ear” wouldn’t bring in the long lines they were getting for today’s drive-in show.

The nice lady pushed and shoved and twisted and cackled with glee (I might be making the last part up as I blacked out briefly.) And then, before I know it (roughly 37 minutes), it was over. I drove home to await the results. Six hours later, I’m still waiting. Which either means they’re backed up, I flunked and I’m totally screwed with my tests this week, or they’re all in the break room talking about the elderly guy who was weeping like a little girl with a pussy willow up her nose and can’t be bothered with analyzing results.

In hindsight, I should have made Mike, my little brother, take the test for me. For old time’s sake.

In the true spirit of a 4-year-old who has triumphed over the medical system, I came home and had way too much gelato.

None of it went up my nose.

epilogue: it came back negative. i’m not pregnant.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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