One Man’s Treat is Another Man’s Poison
Gooey nutty pies, gorgeous peanut butter mousse, molten peanut butter cake, darling peanut butter pops, and of course, anything made with the classic peanut butter cookie.
I’m sure it looks gorgeous to you, but it makes me want to gag. Literally.
There’s no getting away from peanuts, no matter how hard I try. That was the point of an article I wrote and published in Living Without Magazine‘s 2006 winter issue. It was called Fighting Back, and was more about fighting back my fears than fighting the omni-prevalence of peanuts. It was my first glossy sale, and I sent my Grandpa a contributer’s copy of the magazine–only to spend the next several years wishing I had a copy for myself. It sold out early, and was impossible to find. I finally had to have the editors xerox a copy of the pages so at least I had something to use as credits.
That all changed today. Yippee!
In honor of cleaning out my basement and finding a long-lost copy of the magazine that I didn’t know I had, I’m putting together a top five list of things you should know about someone with a peanut allergy:
- No, I’m not making this up. You’d be surprised how often this comes up–and it makes me laugh every time. If I was going to pretend a food allergy, you can bet I’d choose brussel sprouts or cabbage, not peanuts!
- Yes, I carry an epipen. Yes, I’m still going to ask you to put your peanuts away. In all fairness, this one probably only comes up cause people don’t understand what an epipen does–and doesn’t do. They think that if I have my epipen, I can still be around peanuts and I’m fine. And that’s true. I’m fine so long as I quickly stab myself with a elephant-sized needle and call 911, then spend the rest the day twiddling my thumbs while they pump benadryl into me through an iv. So…yeah. You still might want to hold off on the peanuts til I’m gone.
- Sure, eat peanuty treats on the plane. But don’t blame me if we have to make an unscheduled landing. This is the one that bites the most, and I apologize to anyone and everyone who packed their kids a peanut butter sandwich and then got on a plane with me. But, the truth is, if you eat peanuts or peanut butter on a plane you are raising the risk that your plane will have to make an emergency landing if there is someone on board with a peanut allergy. Sorry about that–I don’t like my flying either.
- Isn’t a peanut allergy kind of a kid thing? What’s with you? Wellll…haven’t you noticed yet that I’m not exactly grown up? lol Seriously, not everyone outgrows their peanut allergy. Mine has gotten worse the older I get. Go figure.
- Don’t you realize how annoying you are? Umm, yeah. I kinda picked up on that the first sixteen dozen times I had to push myself into other people’s lives and ask them to put away their child’s snack or clear the class/plane/conference of peanut foods. I get it, I really do. But, I’ve also made up my mind that I have a right to live and move safely in public and you can choose a different snack. So, I’m not going away, but I will smile and I will apologize and when possible, I’ll offer a snack of my own as an alternative. Preferably clean dark chocolate!
There you have it. And just to show that the peanut eaters and the peanut allergic can live peaceably and coexist, I’m dedicating this post to the fabulous folks at my daughter’s school, who always make me feel welcome and watch my peanut-free back, and the good people of Guinea Fowl International, who recently showed grace and ingenuity under pressure when I sprang my peanut-allergy surprise on them the first day of our conference. They and so many others have shown me sympathy, understanding, and an open mind, for which I am grateful. Thank you so much–and enjoy!