Monday, August 5, 2013


Florida is a semi-tropic, sultry, exotic state where rain is called liquid sunshine, and the Spanish guy who named it fully expected to find a fountain full of Botox. Winter is the season where Floridians put on sweaters and walk fast to their cars. Florida is paradise.

Florida is also wormy.

Big worms, little worms, beggar worms, thief worms.

Pinworms are a fun little invertebrate that lay eggs in a part of the body usually associated with sitting, booty dancing, and spanking. Pinworms are party worms that come out at night to . . . well . . . booty dance, also to lay their eggs in a place where the sun don’t shine. Pinworm eggs can be found in dirt, air, shady places, warm mud, toddlers, and the moon. It is very easy to “get” pinworms. I’m a gardener; I’m pretty sure I have them 75% of the time.

One semi-tropic, sultry, exotic Florida evening, I remember sitting straight up in bed, gasping or maybe gagging.

“Honey, honey!” I shook my husband’s shoulder. He mumbled something about a goose and then rolled over.I shook him harder.

“Honey! Wake up!” Panic made my voice shrill. “I think I’ve got them!!!”

“What! Whaaaat. . . is . . . it?” He rumbled awake. “Do I need the baseball bat?” He scratched his ear and admitted, “I don’t know where it is.”

“Sherwood, listen to me.”  The hair on the back of my neck began to creep in sympathy with other parts of me that were just plain creeped out and possilby itching. “I’ve got pinworms. I just know it. Sort of.”

“Should I get the baseball bat?”

“No! Pinworms, man, pinworms,” I grabbed him by his shoulders.” I have them!” I lowered my voice to a raspy shout.  “I. CAN. FEEL. THEM. MOVING! I think. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.”

He grimaced, looking confused and a little frightened.

“What should I do?” I said.

“Find a cork?” His suggestion was so quiet I almost didn’t hear it.

“Listen, Mister, if you don’t watch out, I’ll make you do the “tape test” for pinworms.”

Suspicion replaced fear in his face.

“That’s right. The tape test, where you take clear tape and press it to the skin of my. . ."

He moaned faintly, while looking faint. His dismay became contagious.

Hysteria clawed its way through my brain as I lunged for the phone and dialed my doctor’s emergency number. While waiting for a call from the mean old nurse they make you talk to when you’ve called with an emergency that isn’t really anemergency, I felt a pathologic need to start running in circles.  I ran.

“What are you doing?” My husband had found the baseball bat under the bed and cradled it like a baby. He watched me without blinking. “You know you can’t outrun the pinworms, right? They’re along for the ride. Besides you don’t know that you really have them.”

The phone rang. I stopped running and answered it.

I yelped, “HELP ME! I have worms! Maybe!”

The mean old nurse said, “You realize that pinworms are not considered an emergency or life threatening.”


“Mrs. Zern you have called your doctor’s emergency phone number in the middle of the night because you suspect you might, possibly, have an infestation of Enterobeus Vermikularis,” she sighed. “I’ll call in a prescription in the morning. You’ll live.”  The phone clicked off.

The next morning I was supposed to give a speech in front of approximately two hundred of my peers with possible pinworms still possibly creeping about my person, and I did, in fact, deliver that speech. And that’s why I’m one tough Mama-Jama, and it’s very hard to rattle me with threats of global warming, global cooling, global annihilation, or global Xenomorph attack.

I’ve known true horror (possibly) and lived.

Linda (Cork It!) Zern

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