Thursday, May 23, 2013


" Say your prayers and wash your hands, cause Jesus and germs are everywhere"


It's funny the things we carry with us from our childhood, the

good, the bad and the neurotic. I come from a large, Italian family

 filled with their share of  anxious and superstitious tendencies.

My grandma is the oldest of eleven children, six girls and five

boys.  More importantly she is the most anxiety/OCD ridden

person that I have met in my entire life, bless her heart. I

grew up six blocks away from my grandparents and they were a

constant, wonderful  presence in my life. They were like an extra

set of parents who loved and nagged about the threat of germs.   I

didn't realize until  years later that anxiety and fear over

EVERYTHING is not normal. One such little gem that has haunted

me my entire life has to do with mayo, or in Gram's house Miracle

Whip. Making a sandwich at Gram's was always an ordeal. If you

let her make it, you'd watch in complete and utter awe as she

delicately touched the knife to the mayo and then flung it onto the

bread from 5 inches away. God forbid that the knife would touch

the bread!  Because you're going in for another scoop of mayo, you

would think, right? WRONG! Whether you had  touched the knife

to the bread or not was moot, you needed a NEW knife for more

 mayo.  If anyone else was making a sandwich an interrogation

proceeded, "did you put the knife back into the mayo?"  We all

knew better but the drill remained the same. No one questioned

what would happen by re-dipping the mayo knife, we had seen it

go down one to many times before by unsuspecting guests. The

mayo would reach it's untimely death to the trash can, but better

to waste money and mayo than risk our health in Gram's

view. Besides, we all knew what happened to people who ate mayo

 that had been touched by bread and then dipped BACK into the

jar!!!  You would most certainly get food poisoning and die.  No

doubt about it. 


Even today when I see John re-dip that knife I internally

cringe and pray for his good health. I didn't realize how

 much this had affected us all until 3 weeks ago when we were all

together for the first time in 15 1/2 years . It was the three of us

once again. My sister(who I actually do see all of the time), my

cousin (who was like a big brother to us growing up) and myself .

  Someone brought up mayo and we all screamed "don't double dip

 the mayo!" I'm pretty sure my 90 year old gram told us all to

shutup. My sister confessed that when anyone at work double dips

 a knife into mayo she shakes her head and knows something bad

 is going to happen to them. My cousin and I agreed that you just

can't do it.  I live by the rule of, "when in doubt throw it out" and have

never questioned some of my families "beliefs".


Until I got home that is, I was making E a turkey sandwich as he

requested for lunch and decided I would have the same. I took out

the mayo and stared at it. I smoothed the mayo on the bread and

counted to three, I contemplated things. I've led a good life, I

rarely do anything crazy, I don't do drugs, I don't smoke, I rarely

if ever drink and so help me I was going to re-dip that knife back in

 the mayo!!!!  I dipped the knife in the jar, held my breathe and

put it on the bread.  Time stopped. I looked behind me as if my

Gram had magically teleported to VA from Pittsburgh to yell at

me.  Nothing happened. I got giddy, it was the BEST sandwich

ever. For the next two days E wanted turkey sandwiches for lunch

and for the next two days I too had a turkey sandwich with cheese,

 tomato, pepper, mayo and a side of bad ass. I was living the wild

life. Maybe I'd get a tattoo of a jar of mayo on my side to remind

me to live a more carefree existence (jk of course). And then it

happened, I got instantly and violently ill out of nowhere.  Now  I

have been on azithromycin for 4 days and it does upset my

stomach. But how coincidental  that I have been re-dipping the

knife? I know if I relay this story to Gram she'll claim it's the mayo

and beg me to throw it away. I can hear her now," Lauren, just

throw it away and buy a new one, I'll send you the money for a

new jar!"  If I tell my mom or anyone else this story they will of

course blame the antibiotic, the scientific and obvious answer. But

 as my cousin said as a child, "Gram is the smartest one in the



  1. I must admit that I too have little quarks that stem from my large Italian family. This story just makes it all seem normal again :)

    1. I have oh so many!
      what was your name?