You know all those clipboards with those annoying questions you have to answer when you go to the doctor’s office? I have become adept at answering these. Later, I also usually get a nurse taking my vitals and asking me more specific questions. I used to pride myself on my excellent test-taking skills in school, but unfortunately (or rather fortunately) my case is unique enough that I can never seem to answer correctly. I will admit that this stresses me out quite a bit.
“Do you have headaches?” asks perky, young nurse No. 1
Finally one I can answer correctly:
“Have you ever had night-sweats?”
“Yes.” But then quickly, “I’ve always been a hot sleeper.” Disappointment shows on perky face.
Next try: “Any arthritis, pain in joints?”
“Yes, knees and hips.”
Feeling more confident now in my answering abilities, I made the grave mistake once of offering up knowledge I thought might be pertinent. “Does it matter that I grew up very near a nuclear facility?” Apparently not. There has never been any affirmative research to indicate this. All I’m thinking at this point is “Where are the Fox Moulders of the world wielding a good X-file to prove my point when I need them? Or:
“Dr. Did you know that there was a scare when I was in high school that buried nuclear waste was leaching into the ground water?” Nothing was ever confirmed… This is the same ground water system that quenches the thirst of most Idahoans, Utahans, Californians, Nevadans, and Arizonans.
“Did you know that government officials used to regularly take samples from surrounding dairies to test at the facility.” When questioned further about this, my mother merely stated that people used to trust the government back then.
“Did you know it was the first nuclear facility in the country?”
“Did you know that I am one of the few teens in the country that grew up knowing the name of space-ship crafting company Lockheed-Martin?”
“Did you know that there are a surprising number of people from my home town with cancer, old and young?”
“Did you know that the second E in INEEL for “environmental” wasn’t added until the mid- to late- nineties.” This is probably not even the name now, it changes so often according to political climate.
“Will the FBI come and hunt me down, now that I’ve put this up on my blog?” Maybe, maybe not. If I suddenly disappear, you'll know what happened. I’ll have to perfect my imaginary, but consummate gun skills, Matrix-like bullet dodging, and my superb army-crawl (or the gazelle?) once again.
On a tangent, I love paranoia media. Farenheit 451, the X-files, The Traveler Series by John Twelve Hawkes. They’re just so fun to read because of their intelligence, and then ridiculously easy to make fun of. Besides, everyone needs a good imaginary enemy to blame their psychosis on. Let us rise up and choose an enemy! I hereby choose nuclear facilities everywhere, and their over-paid, and perhaps under-honest employees. Some people choose President Bush/Obama, the end of the world, technology, or even religion. And then they attempt to solve it by voting differently, and/or getting more food storage. Some even build underground bunkers. I choose the atom bomb. And then I will prove myself a hypocrite by continuing to live “on the grid,” using every ounce of my health insurance, and by allowing radiation therapy to occur on the right side of my head.