The holiday season is approaching with a rapidity that I find positively frightening. Not because I don't love the holidays (I do! I do!) but because there is so much to be done between now and winter break. Like, you know, FINISH MY DISSERTATION.
Anyway, as I think about the holidays and our travel plans and such, I wanted to share with you a lesson I learned on Christmas Day (or maybe the day after) a few years ago:
I learned what a suppository is.
I didn't know! I was out of college and a PhD program and I had no idea what a suppository was. Is that really my fault? My parents later insinuated that someone "as well read" as myself should probably know what a suppository is.
Well, believe me, Charles Dickens isn't doing a whole lot of writing about suppositories in his novels so it wasn't like I'd read about them in school. I personally had never needed one or known someone who had. Who was willing or able to talk about it, anyway.
I had heard the word, I'm sure. It wasn't like a completely foreign term. I knew it was some sort of "pill" that you would take to "feel better" so I just assumed it was synonymous with a "supplement." Aiding in nutrition and all that.
So anyway, I am at my in-laws' for Christmas. David had gone somewhere with his dad and grandpa, and his mom and I were watching a Law and Order marathon. You know, because it was Christmas. (Or probably the day after.)
And his mom started telling me about these stomach issues she'd been experiencing and this new suppository she had to have.
That was quite large.
Large enough that David's dad had to help her with it.
Of course, at this point I am staring at her, rather dumbfounded, because I don't understand how David's dad could help her swallow a really big pill or why she doesn't just take it with yogurt or something.
So I say (in my most helpful voice), "Have you tried taking it with a spoonful of ice cream? Or maybe applesauce?"
Obviously, my comment left her a bit dumbfounded. But she decided to overlook my weird remark and went on to explain that the suppository had ultimately helped her stomach issues. And then we returned to Law and Order.
Which meant that we never resolved the issue.
I STILL didn't know what a suppository was and --most crucially--I didn't know that I didn't know.
So later that night as we were getting ready for bed, I casually asked David if he knew his mom had to take these "huge suppository pills" and how was it possible that his dad was helping her with them?
Well, one of us knew what "suppository" meant.
David's eyes got huge and he was all "WHAT? Why is my mom talking to you about her SUPPOSITORIES?"
And I was all nonchalant, "Well, I don't know, but evidently the pills are huge and your dad has to help her with it. How would he do that?"
David stared at me for a long moment like he was waiting for the punchline of my joke.
Then he said, "Um, do you know what a suppository is?"
Me (as though slightly offended): "Um, yeah! Isn't it like a vitamin?"
And then, much to the mortification of both of us, David kindly explained what a suppository actually is. And how one takes it.
And then I screamed, "Oh my GOD! I told your mom she should take it with a spoonful of ICE CREAM!"