Along with a similar hair colour and fondness for 90s television, my oldest sister and I were both born with generous slices of imagination-pie. For many years we have flapped around in its crapness, particularly when it comes to medical matters.
Over this time, our shared imaginitis has proved itself to be synergistically stressful, to the point where issues of health have been banned from all sisterly conversations and tête-à-têtes. Sans sister, we have both discovered The Internet to be a particularly willing and available partner in stress.
Internet medical diagnosis is like pancakes. It’s easy to accomplish without much know-how, it doesn’t take a lot of forethought or preparation, it’s achievable with things you have lying around the house, and it’s incredibly satisfying until you overdo it.
In the last ten or so years I have personally diagnosed myself with a myriad of both real and fictional medical issues, and so have now banned myself from surfing the net in a medical sense.
My 60-something year old father seems to have recently discovered the joys of The Internet. Later than the rest of the world for sure, but possibly with more enthusiasm than is reasonable for someone who refused to own a mobile phone for the first 10 years of their popularity - and who still answers ‘hello’ in a surprised tone reminiscent of someone who picked up a seashell on the beach and heard voices. His excitement is less about diagnosis in a medical sense and more, I believe, about the newfound ability to always be right.
When I was little my dad seemed always to be right right. And by this I mean he said things with the kind of inflection that did not invite conversation or critique.
“Dad, do dogs get their period?” (Most of my questions were about this kind of thing; my favourite book at the time being ‘Where Do I Come From?’, which I loaned from the Geelong Regional Library almost every week).
“Yes. Yes they do”.
At the time, there was no way of knowing whether the information he spouted was fact or fiction. It certainly seemed unlikely that Scallywag had had her period without us all knowing, but add to that the fact he’d told me that he’d written Anamalia, and I had good reason to be suspect (you can imagine my surprise at school the next day after I boasted about my literary genius of a dad).
Years later, a Sex & the City episode confirmed that what dad had said about dogs menstrual cycles had been true. This I believed it without question. Television would never lie to me - it has no reason to. I believed it without question, simply because Charlotte’s hair was shiny and so was the television screen.
So what exactly does this say about where I source my information? Not my sister because it’s too stressful. Not The Internet because it (and I) can’t be trusted. Not my dad because he’s suspicious.
Apparently, TV is my main and most trusted source of information. Oh dear. I best find a good doctor. Or start watching better shows.
As soon as this season of Geordie Shore is finished.
Instagram is my new favourite baking tool! These portuguese tarts looked much less impressive before I filtered the crap out of them...