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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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You deserve better but this is all I have.

Yesterday, probably still reeling from the psychic trauma of Thanksgiving Weekend With Every Living Relative, I forgot to take some Very Special Medication that Mommy Takes Because of Something You Did. I’m such a delicate wee thing that my dosage is extra-extra-low because that is all my willowy frame requires, but the bad thing about being on the teensy-weensy dosage is that once it leaves my body I’m WHOOPSY DAISY paddling around in a sloppy hell of withdrawal. So today I woke up soaked in sweat, reeling around my suddenly tilt-y apartment. When I saw two Henrys reaching for me from their two cribs, I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately the Husband is working nights this week, so once I roused him from his slumber, which I did by gently calling “GET UP I’M DYING OH CHRIST,” I quickly medicated myself and returned to bed, where I had dreams that I was Buffy the Vampire Slayer (how sad am I, still dreaming about a show that ended years ago? Quite sad) and a Herbie-the-Love-Bug-type car was roaming the streets of Brooklyn, announcing that it was the harbinger of the apocalypse. (If I wrote the script to this movie, I would title it DOOM BUGGY. That is an excellent title, and you, privileged reader, can take it. There, it’s yours. Don’t say I never do anything for you.) And I was all “bring it on” and I was tossing my pretty pretty hair this-a-ward and that-a-ward because I was Buffy and my hair was so blonde! So blonde and so pretty!

When I woke up, it was 1 p.m. This pretty much set the tone for the day.

Another thing that happened yesterday is that I went for a physical. I haven’t had a physical since the 80s—I remember the nurse instructing me to remove my shoulder pads and leg warmers before putting on the day-glo gown--so it seemed time. I didn’t realize I was getting the extra-vigilant doctor who would alert me to every possible thing that could ever be wrong with me, so I left there a little freaked. Extra-enthused doctor informed me that I have a GOITER (well, okay, “enlarged thyroid,” but isn’t that a goiter? Isn’t it? Oh, why didn’t I buy the iodized salt?) and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (okay, just a high reading, but my reading usually peak at 90/70, usually they’re so low that by all rights I should need to do a handstand to get the blood away from my ankles before I’m conscious enough to sign a check) and also several other things that I can’t mention here. Oh, and apparently because there’s so much cancer in my family, I’m a fool for not seeing a genetic counselor because I’m a ticking time bomb, people! Tick tick! So I’m scheduled to get all kinds of tests and she gave me the name of this counselor with the words “FAMILIAL CANCER SYNDROME” underlined next to it.

I called my mother looking for more specifics on the dead in our family, hoping that perhaps I had overstated the cancer running amok throughout the generations. It was a mistake, because my mom distrusts doctors and their voodoo practices. She truly believes that if you have something wrong with you and you don’t know about it, it will simply vanish. Poof! But if you make the mistake of going to a doctor and getting it treated, you, my friend, are doomed. Not just doomed. Doooomed.

So there I was just trying to get the facts and my mom is on the other end shrieking YOU’RE NOT GETTING CANCER! STOP IT! And then the rest of the conversation went like this (facts have been altered not to protect anyone but because I am simply too lazy to rise from my chair and find my notes):

Me: So how many brothers and sisters did grandma have?

Mom: 8? Wait, let me think. 12. No. No, 8. 6 brothers, 2 sisters. Including her. So she had 7 brothers and sisters.

Me: And did they all die of cancer, or…?

Mom: They were so old! When you’re old it doesn’t count. That’s what my doctor said. It’s not genetic if you’re old. They weren’t 35! They were OLD!

Me: What were their ages?

Mom: So let’s see, there was Mama, she was 74; there was, hmm, Salvatore, Uncle Sally, he was 62…

Me: Cancer?

Mom: Oh, cancer, yeah. Terrible. Colon cancer. Because all he ate was sausage. Seriously, it was all he ate.

Me: [Making a note never to eat sausage again]

Mom: Uncle Maddy, 60s, also colon cancer.

Me: Let me guess--sausage eater?

Mom: [dreamily] Uncle Maddy loved the sausage.

It went on like this for a while. Apparently my family is evenly spit between lovers of sausage and lovers of booze and/or cigarettes—or, hell, all of the above! Italians are fun!

Do you know what else is fun? Talking about dead people! There are so many of them! Think about it--they outnumber us. They could totally rise again and they would so kick our asses. And in reality my slaying power is minimal and my hair is short and brown. We are so screwed.

Reader Comments (32)

I take Very Special Medication Because You Came Along And Daddy And I Had To Move To The Suburbs For Good Public Schools But This Is A Place People Worry Far Too Much About Wallpaper And Vote Republican More Than Mommy Can Take Without Good Drugs (That Must Be Prescribed).
December 7, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy
spider robinson also addressed this shortage of souls thang in a short story called, um. (runs to the bookshelf) "soul search." you can find it in _time travelers strictly cash_.

there is no way to accurately assess the number of living humans, because you have to arbitrarily pick a point when humans evolved from proto-humans. and unless i missed something in antropology class, i don't believe there was an oven-bell *ding!* when the first human appeared.
December 7, 2004 | Unregistered Commenteraleta
I like to think it was an Easy-Bake™ oven *ding!* ... but then, there are a number of technical problems with that scenario. I eagerly await archaeologists' unearthing of the bronze-age version of the Easy-Bake™ however.
December 7, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterjilbur
did your doc test your thyroid levels? i was mis-diagnosed with an anxiety disorder until we noticed my goiter - my son said "mama, your madam's apple looks really big".turns out, i had hyperthyroid, which caused my blood pressure to go up and caused adrenaline rushes which we mistook for panic attacks!!now,excuse me while i search the fridge for some sausage.
December 8, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterdomin8trix
Hey Domin8trix, did you have any other thyroid symptoms?

December 9, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
I feel a little weird coming after nylon panties great comment. I mean, really, how could I possibly top that?

Seriously, Alice, you are brilliant. I love the Uncle Maddy loved the sausages part as well.

And I miss Buffy as well. Don't worry about the hair color. Xena kicked ass and she was a brunette.
December 11, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Whoa, I just hit Comment Spam row, apparently. I assure you I am a real person and not a spambot.

The "colon cancer is only for old people" theory goes right out the window when you figure in that I had it at age 18. And I don't even EAT sausage. And even if I did, I'd have to have eaten forty pounds every day to equal the lifetime intake of Uncle Maddy.
December 29, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterBren

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