Who teaches this stuff?

There must be some vast secret society that I am not a member of because other people always seem to know things that I don’t ─ and they’re surprised. I’m not talking about esoteric subjects; I’m talking about mundane things. For instance, where do clothes do their shrinking, in the washer or in the dryer, and when are you supposed to put down crabgrass killer?

I remember telling my sister that I could live happily on a diet of jelly beans. She said, “No, you couldn’t. You’d die if that’s all you ate.” I insisted that other than rotting my teeth I’d be just fine. She had to explain that jelly beans have none of the nutrients a body needs to keep its systems going. It was quite an eye-opening conversation. I was in my early thirties at the time.

Perhaps some of my woeful lack of practical knowledge can be attributed to not having paid attention in school. We may have covered laundry in home economics, and nutrition in kindergarten, but I’m pretty sure there was nothing about crabgrass.

I am mystified by most things that are health-related, which is particularly galling since my father is a doctor. I thought osmosis would give me an edge in that department, but apparently living with him wasn’t enough to counteract the fact that doctor’s children never visit doctors and are, therefore, uniquely ill-informed about what goes on inside their bodies.

As an adult, I started to collect medical information on an as-needed basis. The problem with that system is that you don’t know what you don’t know, so how do you know to ask? When a friend told me that she was taking calcium to prevent osteoporosis I asked how she knew to do that. She said her doctor told her. By then I had acquired a primary care physician that I was not related to, but she never said anything to me about calcium until I asked her. She reacted as if it was something everyone knew. I guess she didn’t realize I wasn’t a member of that secret society.

Menopause (a subject that clearly merits its own blog post) is something doctors should volunteer information about, because it turns out that quite a few things can be attributed to it. However, if you don’t know what those things are, you might think you were going mad, or had been bitten by a tse-tse fly or something equally exotic.

Thankfully, today we have the Internet. I can find out anything I need to know with a search on Google. It might take a while, though. When I searched stages of menopause it returned 4,320,000 hits. Before I’m done reading them all, I’ll die of old age. It would be easier if I could find out where that secret society meets. Anyone know?

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10 responses to “Who teaches this stuff?

  1. I think while we were learning how not to split infinitives, the proper use of gerunds, the Socratic method, etc… others were learning “righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Then “we” get out in the world and stumble upon the practical things. But “they” never fret about those gerunds and infinitives. 🙂

  2. If you DO find out where the Society meets, please let me know too.

  3. laughed out loud about the Jelly Beans….and your post script about your age when you found out about the dietary limitations of Jelly Beans. :-))) Very fun piece.

  4. Its a vast conspiracy to keep us all confused. I’ll take some jelly beans.

  5. Hmmm, I don’t know what to say about the jelly beans.

    If you read a magazine like Allure or Self or Shape, they cover enough women’s health issues that you’d know about menopause symptoms and supplements and sunscreens. There’s a lot of (to me, enjoyable) fluff, but an easy way to find out about the things you should know. And they keep out the lists that always think you’re going to die when you look up symptoms and get those horrid diseases.

  6. I’m pretty sure the entire problem here is that you are part of the vast minority who don’t watch daytime TV.

  7. Jelly beans…hahaha! laughed so hard…my stomach aches. thanks very much Judy. :))))))

  8. great post, and comments, yet again!

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