Rule of Thumb

At the doctor’s getting the cast off my wrist for my newly healed thumb, the doctor asked me how it felt. I flopped around my limp wrist back and forth for a bit in amazement of how weak and thin it was and I told him, “it feels… dead.” He was quick to say “We don’t use that word here.” I thought I’d just unknowingly cursed, but realized I didn’t, and in the time it took me to verify that, I noticed that I’d said the one taboo word of hospitals. My socially inconsiderate self didn’t really think it was a big deal, but my non-confrontational self blushed and didn’t want anything to do with a frustrated/annoyed/perturbed doctor.

About 5 years later I would learn what the word “taboo” means during a discussion with my best friend that had me nodding and smiling, pretending to know; and that was the third or fourth time in that short span of a few weeks the word came up in conversation and I pretended to know what it meant. I went home and googled “taboo definition” and learned… to hide my mistakes.

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