My wife and I had dinner Sunday night at the home of some neighbors. Good food, better company, but the floor show was an utter disgrace.
During the course of gorging ourselves on takeout barbecue, my 9-year-old grand-neighborson — a word I just invented to illustrate the nature of our relationship — turned red and gasped.
I had no idea what was happening. Neither did my wife. Luckily, Ethan’s parents knew exactly. Both of their sons have serious peanut allergies. The only problem was that there were no peanuts in the food. We looked.
Ethan — when he was capable of conversing in something other than wheezes — alerted us to the coleslaw.
We didn’t believe him, of course. Hell, he’s 9. What could he possibly know about the ingredients of coleslaw? We’re adults, and we know that nobody puts peanuts in coleslaw.
Turns out he was right. It was the coleslaw. A call to the business revealed that the salad contained some sort of peanut oil, sauce or goo. Either the warning was missed by us, or the business forgot to mention it.
Note: No, I’m not telling you the name of the business. When you order out, make sure to ask if there’s anything in the food that might kill you or someone you care about. This is especially important for anyone allergic to nuts, gluten, ground glass and so on.
After the danger had passed, I felt a little disappointed. There was an EpiPen standing by. If anyone was going to stab Ethan with it, I rather hoped it would be me. I’ve never done that before and would have considered it an honor.
Most people are allergic to something. I have seasonal allergies. They won’t kill me, but there are times when I wish they would.
Other allergies with which I am afflicted are boredom, government, multilevel-marketing proposals, dentists and prolonged ecclesiastical advice. Exposure to these elements manifests as hostility, a lack of empathy, and, on occasion, gunfire.
This brings us to the human element of allergies. Since I’m allergic to certain types of people, it’s a given that I am also an allergen to them.
My most recent complaint from a reader was a Facebook post that read like a violent sneeze — “Buck Ewe Peace of Slip.” I’ll let you work through that one on your own.
Obviously, I had gotten up this guy’s nose with something I wrote. It happens. But since this wasn’t his first sneeze at me, I had to wonder why he didn’t just stay away from what was bothering him?
That’s what I do with Russian olive trees, and Ethan does with peanuts (save for the occasional coleslaw surprise). It’s not that hard to figure out.
Ask yourself what kind of people you’re allergic to, and determine your own status as an allergen to others. Then do your best to avoid one another. Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who actually lives for allergy season.