“Voluntary hazardous waste clean-up? Extra chromosome likely answer”
By: Jamie Miles: columnist
A friend buzzed into the house to fetch my daughter for play-date with her grandchild just as I emerged from shower in my bathrobe. “Are you sick?” she quizzed.
“No,” I sighed. “I’m just clean.”
Lovely to reach a point in life where your naked face free from grime, blush or sunless tanner looks as if you’re safe harbor for virulent illness.
In hindsight, she might be a prophet.
Later that evening after midnight, our young daughter called out, “Daddy, Mommy!”
My husband leapt out of bed. Eyes closed and motionless, I drifted back towards that blissful state where all appeared rosy and age didn’t cast me an ashen, yet squeaky clean invalid.
“I threw up!’
My husband stopped.
Then I did what every woman does after her husband stops like a statue sensing the sickly winds of stomach flu wafting stealthily toward every healthy household nostril. I climbed out of bed, brushed past Daddy (who already tucked one toe back under the blanket) and headed down the hall to…the MESS.
As the lioness hunts while the male lion preens, women bravely march to the vomit zone and drape yellow tape. Men roll over, go comatose and block any recognition that Mount Vesuvius just violently erupted in the next room.
Only science can explain a woman’s willingness to risk exposure to debilitating disease and spend sleepless nights washing load after load of laundry. A 47th chromosome and sacrificial attitude toward her gross-tolerance units is the only answer.
I theorize women carry an additional chromosome rendering them unaffected by sight and smell of the recent marbleization of a child or child’s bedroom with half-digested chicken nuggets trimmed in mac-and-cheese. This Clara Barton DNA lies dormant until the onset of pregnancy or upon turning 25 – whichever occurs first.
Along with this 47th chromosome theory, my neighbor, Trish Jones, and I came up with the gross-tolerance hypothesis. The amount of grossness humans can tolerate at a given moment is determined by how many gross-tolerance units they have left in their gross-tolerance allotment. Grown women recoil at placing an earthworm on a fishhook because as adults, we expend our all gross-tolerance units cleaning up vomit, changing dirty diapers and scouring petrified umber urine-stalactites off toilet bowls.
Maybe the larger concern is what happens to all available male gross-tolerance units rendering men incapable of stomach flu wipe downs? Couldn’t they find a bucket, move wet bed linens from washer to dyer, shepherd a dear vomit-encrusted child to bathtub? Clearly, researching such pressing questions begs for Superfund status or bailout add-on.
As a Georgia Tech grad, Trish will head up the study. I volunteer to be her dutiful assistant and promise never to call in sick.
Fortunately, I only look deathly ill. Well…only those days I bathe.
PRINTED IN THE MARCH 12 EDITION.