I Brought A Contagious Disease Into Our House (part one)


I sent an incredibly contagious virus hurtling through our family just recently. Despite it only lasting an afternoon, it did not ‘finish as quickly as it started’. It took hold of each person and nested in them like the devil in a bath of murderous gluttony, until it found its escape route and came hurtling out with all manner of drama and glory. At one stage I watched on as a social scientist rather than a mum. I was amazed at its ability to effortlessly travel through the space between us, through air we breathe, from one innocent human being to another. It was a wee bit fascinating.

Before you all hold your breath, worrying you might catch this hideous disease through cyberspace, I will tell you what I passed around. It’s arguably one of the most contagious diseases on the planet: Anger.

It started with a science experiment, as (not) all good anger stories start. We love our science experiments here and my six year old daughter came home from school with one we hadn’t tried before – using just a glass of vinegar we could make an egg become ‘bouncy.’ 

It was very exciting. We set everything up and put two eggs in two bowls of vinegar as my daughter instructed. For two whole days we watched and waited. Every few minutes, then every few hours, one of the kids would run to the kitchen bench and check on the eggs. Were they floating? Sinking? Cracking? Cooking? Foaming? All I knew is that they were stinking.

Really stinking.

After the first day the kids were running to the table outside to check on them lest I vomit on their toast while making the morning’s breakfast.

After the two days were up, I organised an area in the backyard for us to carefully extract the eggs. I had put down trays, on placemats, on towels, and the kids were having a ball ‘bouncing’ their eggs. Then one of the eggs smashed. It was a crime scene. Raw vinegar egg all over the tray and oh my god, the smell. The smell was overwhelming, like a bowl full of rotting tongues sprinkled with blue cheese, dead ant juice, and manure.

I was inside getting more cleaning implements when I looked up to see my daughter standing on the carpet, next to the couch, playing with the other egg in her hands. Oh you are shitting me. My voice somehow stayed calm.

‘Hey Bub, you need to get outside with that egg please.’

No response.

‘Sweetie, listen to mum, walk outside with the egg now.’

‘Hmm mmm’.

‘BUB, you and that egg need to get outside. I do not want it cracking on the carpet.’

‘Ok, ok.’ No movement.

I was on my way toward her to get serious with my instruction. I moved slowly and quietly because I was worried that even too loud a noise might crack that fragile egg-shaped vessel of evil.

Before I got to her the unthinkable happened. The egg cracked, in her hands, all over the couch and the carpet.

Time to get screaming.

‘Hold that muck in your hands AND GET OUTSIDE! NOW!!!!!!!!!’

She ran (I don’t yell very often) with the egg weeping through her cupped fingers but it was too late, the damage was done. Rotten vinegar-soaked raw egg guts were seeping into the couch cushions and through the cushion cracks. It was soaking into the carpet and finding its way onto any absorbent surface it could find. It was The Blob vs The Smell (where’s that movie?), consuming and destroying everything in its path.

And that is when I started the angry virus; Imfuriousluenza Type A, Irateulosis, The Black Rage, Livid disease, The Fricken Cross, Madashellucoccal. And it was catching…