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Mom Spit Cures All

Posted by Michael Zahara on Aug 8, 2010

We Zaharas are made of sturdy stuff.  In fact, I was the only Zahara of my generation hospitalized (albeit, just overnight!) for a tonsillectomy when I was 11 years old.

If my Ma could have figured out how to do it at our kitchen table, I would not have been an admitted hospital patient until I was 35 years old and slipped on the ice and broke an ankle at work.

When something happened to me or my siblings or cousins, our folks would momentarily hover over us, check if an elbow was protruding from a big toe or a spleen was coming out of an ear, determine whether or not we were dead, then pronounce ‘He’ll live’, and our Moms would lay a Loogie on a Kleenex, wipe off the blood and guts, and we’d go back outside to play a few minutes later.

Emergency rooms?  Oh, hell no; that just isn’t done in our family! We had the same squeeze bottle of Bactine in our medicine cabinet for almost 30 years because nothing cures anything better than Ma spit.

Bandages? Are you people insane? Our ability to get a Band-Aid for something was directly related to Ma’s weekly Saturday shopping.  If you got messed up on Sunday, your chances were pretty good that there would be a box of bandages; if you got messed up on a Friday, you were pretty much on your own and your care mirrored that of a Civil War battlefield hospital.

There were no ‘Hello Kitty’ or ‘He-Man’ bandages either.  None of that bullshit for the Zahara kids!  But, being ‘Catlick’, we had several trillion of those stupid little round bandages where the pad is too small and the adhesive too little to be of any good for any wound for longer than 5 or 6 seconds!

And as stupid and useless as those ‘lil round bandages are, nonetheless, on any given day, we had several trillions of those because it’s against our faith to throw anything out that may be of medicinal value to anyone should there be a nuclear war, or something.

‘Duck and cover! Oh, and here, have a couple of hundred of these useless little round bandages too!’ Just as we contemplate the great mysteries of the Pyramids today, some future civilization will unearth our stuff and wonder what the f*ck we ever did with all of the trillions of bazillions of little round bandages they find.

My folks split up responsibilities for our care.  My Dad really really hates blood, so he was in charge of puke and anything needing an Ace bandage.  Ma really hates puke and would join you in a sympathy puke if she thought you were even thinking about ralphing, so she did the blood, the scabs, and voluntary or involuntary tooth removal.

We’re a good family, just a really odd family, now that I think about it!

Odd because when something happens to one of us, there is something in our familial, genetic make-up that turns us into total retards. Anything from a zit to an amputation, this is what happens in my family and there’s also a contagious pathogen too, because if you marry into my family, you’ll do the same things!

Here’s how it always goes and how it went for me when I got hit by a car last month:

Oh my God, one of our loved ones is sick, injured, or infirmed!  Quick, get a Hefty Bag and run around the house like an idiot emptying everything you see into said bag and bring the full bag to said sick, injured, or infirmed loved one immediately!’

Now, my big sister is a really good guy; she has always taken care of all of her little brothers and I am little brother number one.  So, she called and said, ‘Oh my God little brother is there anything you need?’

I replied, ‘Yeah, I need some Neosporin, some Telfa pads, a big bottle of generic aspirin, and some Cherry Coke would be nice too!’

This is what I got in my big giant Hefty Bag instead:

Cotton Balls

One box of StayFree mini-pads

One box of StayFree maxi-pads—this is notable for many, many reasons, not the least of which is that neither my mother or sister have needed these particular products for quite some time!

One can of tomato paste

Hamburger Helper: Flavor discontinued by Betty Crocker in 2002

Two bottles of expired Acetaminophen though I asked for aspirin because that’s the only thing that works for me

A tube of used Neosporin

A Jello-mold

A single ear of roasted corn

Toilet paper

Some leftover steak and roasted tomatoes

A 1998 copy of Guns and Ammo

A 2006 copy of Oprah’s ‘O’ magazine

4 cans of cat food her cat doesn’t like; I don’t have a cat

And you people wonder why I’m such an oddball and see things differently than most?

I’m no better either.  When my sister had her hysterectomy a few years ago I gave her a case of motor oil because I didn’t want her to worry about her car when she was missing a major part of her Hoo-Hoo!

She’s really good though because moments after your conception, she somehow conveys to the tiny zygote exactly what she’s going to want you to get for her should she be sick, injured or infirmed…and that’s always going to be a product called ‘Twinkle’ copper cleaner for her Revereware copper-bottomed pots and pans.

It’s not sold in this region of the country and she has no problem telling complete strangers where they can purchase it, how much it will cost, and how to FedEx it to her.

After her surgery, the entire Zahara extended family could tell who and where well wishes came from:  Nevada friends sent tons of flowers and cookies and stuff, back East people all sent ‘Twinkle’, and I regret to inform you Nevada folks which she appreciated more!

No, really, I’m serious!  We may not have any bandages around the house, but if you need your copper products cleaned, the Zahara family has your back dude!

I’m 49 years old and have never purchased bandages because I, like all American males, consider the company’s First Aid box my endless supply should I ever need them…plus, I really don’t want to have all of those useless round ones hanging around my home either.

Nor do I want you getting injured at my house. I’ve inherited my 97 year-old, never-sick-a-day-in-his-life, Grandpa’s gene that tells him he doesn’t want to go to the doctor because they’ll just ‘find something’…with me, I don’t buy First Aid products because that just encourages you to get hurt while visiting me!

My youngest brother

I’m on the mend and healing very well at the one-month point as any credible Zahara would; we’re generally not drama queens except for my youngest brother who is the Meryl Streep of the family and who managed to get all of the bandages growing up too!

So, I’m left with the impression that had Metro just called my Ma’s house and asked her to come down, spit on a Kleenex and wipe all of the blood off of my face and torso, that this would have been over in a few hours…tops!

Mike Zahara Siganture
Mike Zahara