As a published author, musician, and former Prime Minister of Lithuania, I have had the opportunity to travel to many exotic locations. I’ve seen the Pyramids of Gaza, the hills of Kentucky, and even the phlegm wads of Newark. But nothing will ever compare to the trip I took during the summer of 1962.
You see, I was born on October 17, 1962. So, the summer of ’62 was very memorable for me. I was at about 5 months gestation in June. My mom had decided to go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch with a friend, Father Mulcahey, a Franciscan priest. I was floating in the tranquil Amniotic as was my habit in those days when I heard the waiter, I believe his name was Pedro, ask my mom if she and her pious friend would like an appetizer. Her answer to that waiter still rings in my ears today and brings with it a gnawing sense of dread that decades of therapy have not been able to relieve. She said two words – “Jalapeno Poppers”.
Now, at the time, I had no idea what jalapeno poppers were. I mean, give me a break – my thalamus had only developed a few months earlier. But soon I was to discover a horror that to this day has not been paralleled in my life. You see, my mom did not know it at the time, but she suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or as the common folks in her neighborhood called it, the Squirts. Her condition, combined with the volatile appetizer, formed a perfect storm of nausea and indigestion – or as my Italian ancestors called it, Agita.
After downing a few poppers and a couple shots of tequila, mom was feeling a little out of sorts. She got up, holding her stomach, intending to run to the ladies room. But Father MulCahey mistook her actions as a signal that she was going into premature labor.
Father M had always wanted to be a paramedic. He still had his little toy stethoscope from the Let’s Play Doctor kit he had gotten on his sixth birthday. He would sometimes bring it out in confessions as a practical joke to check if the sinner had been struck dead. Those Franciscans, always the kidders.
But this particular afternoon, he did not have his kit with him. The salad tongs would have to suffice. As he approached mom, who was now lying on the floor because she had tripped over Pedro’s authentic beaded nap sack, she noticed the tongs. Realizing that Father M had misjudged the situation, she had to act quickly. With no time to devise a more sophisticated plan, she instead threw up on the clergyman. This quick decision immediately yielded two benefits. First, Father M stopped dead in his tracks, and second, he now understood that she was not birthing, but just barfing.
As you might imagine, all of this was very traumatic for a fetus like me. Fortunately, after years of pre and post-natal counseling I have been able to glean a few lessons from this incident. Here is what I have learned:
1) Don’t mix poppers with tequila
2) Never trust a Franciscan with a toy stethoscope
3) The Squirts would be a good name for a band