When I was a kid, I told people I was allergic to coconut.
Don’t worry. I’m appropriately remorseful now.
I just didn’t want to eat coconut and it was a great way to get people to stop pushing their macaroons on me.
Now, I really am allergic to chocolate. Really. It’s an allergy I developed in college, and my mother has the same allergy.
Chocolate legitimately makes me ill. I get “a cold” that turns into bronchitis and is bad enough that I’m totally fine with not eating it because I have no desire to be that miserable.
Maybe it’s because I’m already used to explaining an unusual allergy to random, well-meaning strangers, or maybe it’s the success of the faux coconut allergy from my childhood, but I had a strange and real and almost irrepressible urge to tell someone recently that I am allergic to paper.
I took my mother-in-law to an appointment, and the woman who checked her pacemaker was very kind. She was talkative and energetic and did an excellent job explaining everything about the device and upcoming replacement procedure.
And then, she scheduled our next appointment. Right there in the room. No need to get held up at the reception desk, just get it done right here right now.
I was impressed.
She asked if I wanted a card with the date on it. I laughed and said “No, thank you. I’ll put it in my phone right now.”
I honestly thought I said something about not wanting a piece of paper I’d lose anyway.
Out of an overabundance of thoroughness, she hit some keys on the computer and started talking about how great it is to have things printed out. On paper.
And then she handed me a slip of paper with the dates printed on it. The same dates I’d already put in my unloseable phone. My phone that doesn’t end up crumpled in a ball at the bottom of my purse or flying out the door of the Suburban when I pick up the kids from school on a windy day.
Yes. “I’m sorry! I’m allergic to paper . . . ” truly almost came out of my mouth.
I just don’t know that I could pull it off.