My brother and I had our tonsils removed at the same time. This was common practice back in the day. One kid gets tonsilitis, so we better just put them all in the hospital and get it taken care of and the parents can have a night to themselves. I was very young and very nervous about the whole thing.
Yes, they really did put us in the hospital for a whole night back then, and I can still picture that room in my mind. It was kind of dark and creepy, late sixties style. But we got to eat a lot of ice cream afterwards. A LOT. These days, I’m sure, the insurance companies probably force you to get your tonsils cut out of your head as you drive by the hospital in your car. Come to think of it, you just don’t hear about people getting their tonsils out much anymore. Is it no longer en vogue? It used to be a rite of passage.
I still sometimes wonder where my tonsils are. If anywhere. Did they burn them up or did they just throw them in the trash? Are my dried up little tonsils still laying in a plastic bag in some dump somewhere under 500,000 pounds of who knows what? Or did a creepy doctor surreptitiously take them home and put them in a glass case as some kind of strange trophy? Perhaps he had them for dinner, Hannibal Lecter style? I’m thinking, if he mixed them up with chicken gizzards, he could have served them to guests, none the wiser...
Hey. You go ahead to the bathroom and puke. I’ll wait for you. La di da di dum dum dum. La di da di doooooooooo...
So, anyway. What I wish sometimes is: I wish they had given my tonsils back to me in a glass jar full of formaldehyde so I could bring them out and sit them on the table whenever conversations started to lag. I imagine that being a good way to get things going again. The thing is, I don’t remember giving anyone permission to take them from me in the first place. It’s not like there was a tonsil fairy to recompense me for my loss.
Here’s something nice that happened: Before we went home, the pastor of my church came and visited us at the hospital. He didn’t make it to everything, because he couldn’t, but this time he came, and I remember it very specifically. He gave both of us one of those drawing boards with the plastic sheet on it. A Magic Slate. You draw your picture, look at it, consider how fleeting life is, then pull up the plastic to erase the picture. Ta daaaah.
Okay, I admit it. We didn’t really consider how fleeting life is. But it was fun and it was a kindness. It was a small grace that made a kid feel a little better. And I hope my life is that way for others. Small graces are all I have to give most of the time.
By the way. If you see my tonsils laying around anywhere, would you please contact me so I can retrieve them? Thanks. And....
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010