“So you’re having a basal cell carcinoma removed from your face? That’s too bad; one of my aunts had that and they had to scrape off most of her nose and remove her bottom lip. She looks terrible. I hope you have a reputable doctor. What kind of insurance do you have?”
“Oh, you'll love the beaches in South Carolina! Just be careful driving there - a friend of my cousin’s husband got into a terrible accident on the way to that same place. She had to stay in the burn unit of some hospital for months – she was burned, like, all over her body. She used to be so-so in the looks department, but now….well, you can imagine. I heard her husband is cheating on her. A tacky person might think, well, who can blame him? But I don’t necessarily think that’s true, and God knows I wouldn’t spread that rumor.”
“Congratulations! I hear you’re having a baby! How far along are you? Oh, that’s too bad - you’re at that stage where so many women miscarry. If I were you, I would just stay in bed for the next two months. You can’t be too careful. And I wouldn’t even tell anyone before you get that test that tells you, you know, if the baby’s…….right.”
Do any of you bitter buzzkills recognize yourselves in the above conversations? What the hell is wrong with you? I heard one such story today from a friend and overheard another nimrod in the hall the other day yammering horror stories to a guy about to go in for surgery. So, I’ve put together some guidelines for you..
“My sister is having surgery next week and I’m really worried about her.”
Don’t Say: What’s wrong with her? Man, I hope she’s got good insurance. My friend is living in a hovel downtown because her husband racked up so much in medical bills – if you ask me, his drinking had a lot to do with him being in the hospital. And he died anyway – I can’t believe the hospital is still trying to collect from her! But I’m sure your sister will be fine. What did you say was wrong with her? ”
Say: I’m so sorry to hear this and I know you must be worried. How about if I take dinner to her family the night she comes home? And let me know if you need me to watch your kids while you’re at the hospital.
“My sons are going to hike the Appalachian Trail! I know they’ll have a great time but I’m still a bit anxious.
Don’t Say: Hell, I don’t blame you! Remember that movie Deliverance? I’ve heard parts of the trail are just like that. I hope they are packing guns. And carrying those pellets to clean the water – I’ve heard of so many people getting stuff like diphtheria or polio or something and dying right on the trail. And sometimes people eat the bodies. Seriously, I read that somewhere.”
Say: That’s fabulous! They’re young and this is the time to do it. Try to convince them to keep journals and please keep us updated as they go.
“My daughter got the lead in the school play!”
Don’t say: You’re pretty excited for a junior high production – it’s not like she got on a reality TV show or something. You know that most kids never make it big – I’ve heard of so many girls waitressing and hooking while waiting for their big break. You really need to prepare her for the real world. But really, that’s good news. Maybe I’ll try to come and see it.
Say: That’s great – I bet you’ll get the vapors watching her on opening night! What play, and when does it open?
And as for the proper response to the buzzill in any situation - I don't even have to tell you, do I?
Say: The Dingo ate your baby.
Please feel free to share your own versions of such good Samaritans who have made your day. I'll share my particular favorite: