Thursday, April 21, 2011

The dangers of car-shopping

     My beloved and I went shopping for a new van recently.  New car shopping is inherently dangerous to health, primarily because of going into sticker shock. But, as I found out, there are more insidious dangers lurking while looking at cars.

We arrived at the car dealership and spoke with a salesperson, telling him exactly what we were looking for. We had done our research, looking at “Consumer Reports”, speaking with friends and neighbors, and talking with our insurance agent. We decided on a used Toyota or Honda van with less than 30,000 miles. The salesperson took us around the lot, showing us vans that met those criteria. As we approached one van the salesperson said, “I probably shouldn’t even show you this van, it just rolled off the truck this morning and I am sure it is a mess.” Sure enough, the van was well loved. It looked like 5 kids had just climbed out of the van after playing soccer in the mud. It was trashed. I had a greater appreciation for the job dealerships do in cleaning up cars before we buy them.

We moved on to the next vehicle and I noticed that my head began to hurt. Right up on top. I felt a monstrous, painful, bump up there and immediately thought that I had bumped my head on something, but I couldn’t remember what or when. Six hours later the lymph nodes over my ears and down the back of my neck began to painfully swell. I suspected that I had been bitten by some critter and that was the cause of the painful bump on the top of my head. At first, I thought I might have been bitten by the Egyptian Cobra that had escaped from the Bronx zoo. I turned to the Internet and did some research and quickly concluded that the snake hadn’t bitten me. First, the venom can kill a full grown Indian elephant in 3 hours. I took my pulse and realized I wasn’t dead and it was six hours after the attack. Second, the escaped snake had been recaptured two weeks earlier.

Researching deeper, I came to the conclusion that I had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. I would have much preferred a black widow, since that sounds so much more theatrical and dramatic. But I suppose I will settle for the brown recluse. I imagine that when I stuck my head into the van, the sunlight glinting off the shiny dome of my head startled the introverted, venomous, eight-legged critter, and it sunk it’s fangs into my skull.

This is not the first time I have self-diagnosed maladies using the Internet. Just recently I diagnosed myself with a kidney stone. Beloved asked me if I was going to see a real medical professional. I informed her that the best web sites indicated that I should go to the doctor if I had blood in my urine, or if I developed a fever. I told her I had all ready paid myself $70 for diagnosing myself.

Beloved wrinkled her nose, rolled her eyes, and scowled at me as she asked, “What if you are wrong.”

“Then I will refund my money.” I told her.

I have not always been so accurate with my diagnoses. The first time I diagnosed myself, I discovered I had Kuru, which comes from the cannibalistic eating of undercooked brains from infected family members. When I told Beloved about my discovery she stated, “Hmmm, that’s interesting, when I cook your relatives I always make sure they are well done before we eat them.”

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