Code 2 for “ate some bugs.” It’s 1am.
A 7-year-old is sitting on the couch in a tidy home. He says he’s fine. He certainly looks fine.
“What’s up, buddy?”
His parents explain that he was eating some cereal in a bowl when they noticed “worms” in the cereal box. We let the fact that the kid was eating cereal at 1am on a school night pass without comment.
Or the fact that the cereal was so old that waxworms got a hold of it.
“We were just worried.”
“Worried about what exactly?”
“Just worried about the worms.”
As you can see, there are lots of opportunities for us to say something stupid.
“If he says he’s fine, I wouldn’t worry about it. That’s assuming he actually ate a worm in the first place. Seeing worms in the box doesn’t equal eating worms out of the bowl.”
They don’t sound convinced, but I don’t expect them to.
“I understand that it’s gross, but plenty of people in the world eat bugs and worms as a way of life, you know. So he’ll be fine, and if he’s not, you can take him to see a doctor yourselves. Good night.”
What is it that causes people to see their children as so precious that worms in a cereal box is such a huge, wake-the-paramedics-up emergency?