Many people enjoy putting nuts into their mouths. If I did it, it would kill me. I, like an increasing number of Americans and people from other important countries, am deathly allergic to peanuts. While most non-peanut allergics consider this immune dysfunction to be just another food allergy, like being allergic to kale or vegimite, peanut allergy is much, much more. Living with peanut allergy means a life of isolation, depression, and living in a world that wants you to die.
Most victims first encounter the horror of peanut allergy during elementary school, where the practice of bringing treats for your fellow classmates on your birthday is as common as pedophilic P.E. teachers (many of whom are proud recipients of prestigious Human Biodynamics degrees). Inevitably, one well-meaning youngster brings in a tray of peanut butter cups, peanut butter pies, or a giant peanut casserole. While most of the students are delighted with these legume goodies, one or two children may begin to fall victim to their very first attack of anaphylactic shock. As the deadly airborne allergens invade their tender little bodies, these hapless kiddies begin to experience wooziness, watery eyes, swelling of the tongue, constricted breathing, and bizarre hallucinations of things like dancing dalmatians and weird shit like that. Seeking help from the teacher, that great bastion of adult wisdom and superiority, the victim is generally met with even further disaster as the teacher’s nut-filled mouth sprays more peanut particles into his or her face, which is typcially enough to cause the child to pass out altogether.
Even if peanut allergics are fortunate enough to survive this first attack, they soon learn that the horror has only just begin. Once word gets around school that there’s a peanut allergic on campus, the vicious band of peanut bullies (there’s a group at every school), seeks this person out and attempts to destroy him with sinister torture techniques like smearing peanut butter in his eyes and shoving Snickers bars into his colon. The only way to retrieve these Snickers bars, of course, is to have a long-muzzled dog go in after it, which is just embarrassing for everyone involved. Especially the Snickers bar.
And does this humiliation end once the immaturity of elementary school has been outgrown? You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But, no, for almost everyone, at some point in his life, will have to fly in an airplane, and that, good people, is where the true misery of peanut allergy begins. Many a peanut allergic knows the dread of airline snack time, when merciless stewardesses (yes, I still call them stewardesses instead of flight attendants, and I still say Oriental instead of Asian, too) distribute tiny yet hazardous packets of roasted peanutes for the enjoyment of non-peanut allergic passengers. Ever since the Supreme Court banned dust masks on domestic flights (due chiefly to the fact that, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in his decision, “People wearing dust masks look like Goddamn freaks!”), peanut allergics have no choice but to hold their breath during snack time, often resulting in unconsciousness and even more dancing dalmatian hallucinations. If a victim were to be so audacious as to complain to a stewardess, he would be promptly tossed out the exit hatch with nothing but a parachute and a Snickers bar up his ass, praying that there would be a friendly long-muzzled dog on the ground.
Of course, civil rights advocates tried in vain to end this discrimination a few years ago by demanding that peanuts be banned from domestic flights, but this legislation was killed in Congress by evil Republicans backed by the powerful Southern peanut lobby and religious fundamentalists who decried the behavior of what they called “Nut hating fags.” That’s America.
But let’s get to the nuts and potatoes of this column. I can deal with inconsiderate airlines and nutty kids and candy in my bottom, but what really bothers me about my allergy is the fact that I’ll never be able to be an international super-spy. Just picture this scenario: International super-spy Matt Holohan has donned a clever disguise and infiltrated a Chinese nuclear/biochemical/mutant hyena weapons plant to do some bad-ass sabotage, only to be captured by Chinese soldiers. Immediately they realize that only a genius like Matt Holohan could have broken through their top-notch security system, so they suspect that this stranger might be me in a clever disguise. In order to test their hypothesis, they say to me, “Well, Mr. Hatt Molohan, if that is you’re real name, if you really aren’t Matt Holohan, international super-spy, then surely you wouldn’t mind taking a nice big bite of this peanut butter and jelly sandwich!!!” I’d have no choice but to try my luck and take a bite, and as soon as my tongue started swelling and I started screaming, “Where the hell did all these dalmatians come from?” they’d take me off and cut me in half or some such shit. And they probably wouldn’t even have the decency to give me an Epinephrine shot before my execution so I could die with a bit of dignity. Damn Chinese probably don’t even know what Epinephrine is.
And so, in conclusion, the next time you’re chowing down on Thai peanut chicken or a fat peanut-flavored cow turd, stop and think who might be sitting next to you. It might just be me, and if you don’t get those allergen-filled vapors out my face I’ll sick my long-muzzled dog on you.