My Mushroom Story…Yes, I Have One

I am neurotic. I don’t know when my perception of the world around me transformed from a blissful place of sunshine and lollipops into the anxiety-riddled one that I now inhibit  inhabit. My mother says I was always a tad bit…um…”different” (insert finger quotes here), which I guess is true. I did believe, after all, that tow trucks broke cars and firemen started fires. Think about it. Every time a car stops working, there’s a tow truck around. And, every time there’s a fire…well, you know where I’m headed with this.

camel tow

It seems that my mind–although highly superior to others in many aspects–in my opinion, which, by the way means very little given the state of my mind to begin with– was pre-programmed for neuroses at a very early age. (If you made it through that sentence without experiencing a walloping migraine, congratulations for your stick-to-itiveness. If that sentence made sense to you, please accept my condolences. I see padded cells and really long-sleeved white jackets in your future.)


When I was 7 years old, I experienced what I call the Toadstool Event…an event which has given me a phobia of inedible fungi.  Mycophobia. A fear of fungus. Yes, even the cutest flock of fungi has the power to fray my nerves.

Don't let their innocent faces fool you.

Don’t let their innocent faces fool you.

It started off as an innocent school trip.  My classmates and I merrily frolicked through the forest, picking colourful fungi to take back to our classroom, “oh-ing” and “aw-ing” at every turn, trying to outdo one another by finding increasingly weirder-looking specimens.  When our mushroom marauding came to an end, we piled on our school bus and returned to school just in time for lunch.

I happily devoured my peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich and my wagon wheel (a chocolate-covered marshmallowy dessert adored by school children in the 1970s, not an actual wagon wheel, although those likely contain a great deal of healthy fibre), and headed back to my classroom.

wagon wheels

If these are the “original” wagon wheels, I would suggest backing away from the box.


Upon entering, my teacher (who from this moment on, I will refer to as Ms. WTF Were-You-Thinking) stated, “Now, I hope you all washed your hands before lunch as you did handle poisonous mushrooms.” The whole room broke into a series of obedient nods and “yes, Ms. WTF’s.” I, however, had lapsed into horrified silence.

Порги — небольшие морские птички в фильме «Звёздные войны: Последние джедаи»

I had not washed my hands. I had potentially eaten peanut butter, jam, and toadstool spores for lunch. I had no choice. I had to confess my potentially life-threatening hygiene faux-pas. And what followed is likely what transformed an otherwise well-adjusted (albeit slovenly) child into a neurotic, hand-washing-obsessed worrywart who is actually allergic to mushrooms. It’s true. I’ve been tested. Well, the mushroom part…I’ve never been tested for the rest.

Ms. WTF Were-You-Thinking immediately  gathered the offending fungi around her, opened up her toadstool book and proceeded to say aloud, ” this looks like the destroying angel.” The very name was ominous. She continued to read the potential side effects of accidental ingestion, but my mind only heard the words “deadly” and “Poison Control.” I don’t remember much after that–other than my parents receiving a phone call that evening stating that Poison Control had concluded that I had not, in fact, been in contact with any toxic fungi and that I would, indeed, live.

In a true neurotic fashion, I did not believe them and forced my parents to stay up with me in case I died. I, apparently, fell asleep at 10:00 and was pleased to wake up the next morning and discover that I was still alive.

Image result for hand washing compulsive

And that is my mushroom story.

I’ve got to go. My hands are calling me.



Photo credits:

Camel Tow:

Toadstools: I’ve had this on my computer for so long, I don’t know where it came from. If it is yours, let me know and I’ll give you credit. By the way, brilliant photo!

Wagon wheels:

frightened thing:


I’ve got a horrible taste in my mouth and I’m buried in snot rags…

I am feeling nauseated. Whoever invented the term “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach” needs a slap to the head…with a brick. My gut feels like a herd of hissing cockroaches are at war with a bevy of botulism-riddled bacterium carrying Swiss army knives. Butterflies, my ass. Speaking of “ass”…my butt is the cause of my urge to vomit. My buttal region has recently gone on strike and, as a result, I decided to give it a not-so-gentle nudge with a dose of Milk of Magnesia.

Now, for those of you who have never experienced this tummy-churning, bowel-blowing concoction brought to you by the lovely people at Phillips, don’t let the heavenly manna-esque name fool you. And do not let the bottle’s promise of mint or cherry flavouring raise your hopes either. All the chocolate in Switzerland could not improve the “dead fish and chalk” taste at the root of this witch’s brew.

Image result for milk of magnesia

Baby’s windigestion? WTF? 

So, here I sit with my guts rumbling, my taste-buds cringing, and a reinforced distaste for all things minty. But my butt will know who’s boss.

And, while I’m on the topic of masking horrifying tastes with seemingly benign flavours, does anyone–other than me–automatically associate artificial cherry flavouring with cough syrup?

Well, it would appear that the company that produces Kit Kat chocolate bars has decided to one-up this trend by masking the taste of chocolate–after all, who enjoys that creamy cocoa taste?–with the medicinal flavour of cough drops. Yes, the new flavour, available for a limited time only in Japan, contains throat lozenge powder. Apparently, this is aimed at preventing sore throats as soccer fans cheer on the Japanese National Soccer Team. If you want to try one of these cough-suppressing candy bars, you are out of luck. They were only available until September 2017. Darn it all.

The United Kingdom’s Donna Griffiths certainly wished that there was a tasty anecdote to sneezing as she achoo-d her way into a Guinness World Record. She sneezed for a consecutive 977 days, from January 13, 1981 to September 16, 1983–including roughly a millions sneezes in the first year alone.

Did she hold a job? How did she sleep? I want to know more about this. This would make an awesome movie. A little hard to find an actress willing to tackle this role, but Meryl Streep could do it.

Did everyone around her get tired of saying “God Bless You” and “Gesundheit?” How much Kleenex did she use? Did she find it hard to stay within her 2 garbage bag limit on trash day?

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On that note, I must run. Read into that what you may.


Image Credits:

Milk of Magnesia-