Generally speaking, when other adults want to play a game, I immediately want to be doing whatever is the opposite of playing a game. And yet, when the parents in my daughter's class wanted to play a "Guess Who?" trivia game at the annual potluck dinner, I was all over it.
The rules were simple. In advance of the dinner, we had to submit a not-widely-known factoid about ourselves to the hostess and she would present the facts, "Who had a walk on part on One Life to Live?"and the rest of us would try to guess which of the other parents it was. A friendly get-to-know-interesting things about you game.
I came up with Husbandrinka's factoid right away ("Who's married to the most wonderful woman in the world?") but he cruelly rejected it, no doubt not wanting to draw jealous attention to his good fortune. My second choice for him was a winner--who was recruited by the KGB and the CIA the same year? (Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? And yet, most of you opted to do a Q&A with John
. Don't worry, you will soon know exactly how many sweaters he owns.)
I couldn't come up with a fun factoid for myself, though, not because there weren't any, but because I'd already bragged about everything interesting about me to all the other moms within ten minutes of meeting them.
"Is it possible that I have nothing exciting to share?" I asked Husbandrinka.
"Probably," he said.
"There must be something," I was hopeful.
"Well, why don't you milk something about Russia? " He asked, reminding me of my Motherland from which I was so cruelly ripped. And speaking of cruelly ripped, I thought of something that was cruelly ripped from me--my tonsils.
When I was six years old, I had my tonsils removed. Behind the Iron Curtain, in the former Soviet Union.
"I got it!" I said as I ran to send an email to our hostess.
"I had my tonsils removed without anesthesia! xox P.S. Will there be enough wine at the potluck? I don't want The Last Supper Redux." After I pressed "send", I had a crisis. "Hey," I asked Husbandrinka, "was the Last Supper the one where everyone was supposed to bring some wine, but people brought water instead thinking that when it was added to other wine no one would be able to tell that they brought water, except everyone brought water?"
"No," he said, which was really bad news for me, although not for the Last Supper guests. Except if you count Jesus, I guess.
I can't remember how many tries it took for someone to figure out at the potluck that I was the tonsillectomy victim but I will never forget the emotional embrace that I got from everyone.
How you must have suffered.
Those Soviets were savages.
Tell us everything that you remember, for your factoid is more interesting than anyone else's.
I did remember things. I remembered being in an old hospital, sharing a large room with six adult women, most of whom were there for gynecological procedures. I remember sitting across from a doctor who told me to open my mouth and reached with a scalpel down my throat. I remember watching, my head tilted back, her white doctor's coat collar get splattered with my blood to form a shape that I would later recognize in an O'Keefe poppy.
I shared all these memories with my captive audience. Suddenly the fact that Husbandrinka had been recruited by competing superpowers seemed very "whatever". I was the hero. While I was basking in my own bravery, something nagged at me, but I couldn't quite place it, perhaps because I was drunk on the toxic mixture of my own heroism and wine.
As we left the dinner party, I stepped into the elevator and as I waved a fond farewell to my adoring public, I hit my elbow against the door.
"MOTHERFUCKER!" I screamed, grabbing my elbow and doubling over. "Good Lord, who the fuck puts a cocksucking elevator door so close to the elevator?!"
Husbandrinka may have rolled his eyes.
"I am in agony," I said. "I think my elbow is broken. We should go to the ER."
"Your elbow isn't broken."
"I am dying."
"You bumped your elbow," he said. "Amazing how you could endure a scalpel down your throat, and yet grazing your elbow is an international incident."
And then it came to me.
Although I remembered getting my tonsils out vividly, the one thing that seemed to be missing from my memory was the pain. Huh. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall my throat being numb. Surely it was numb from fear.
"You know," I told Husbandrinka. "I think I may have had some local anesthesia during my tonsillectomy."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Well, who can be sure now, but I don't remember any pain. And I was awake for the procedure, so it's not like I had general anesthesia."
"So you just lied to everyone at the potluck."
"Well, I did get my tonsils out. Do you think people focused on the anesthesia part?"
This is why I don't like playing games. And why I think that my daughter may need to change schools.