It had been a funky fungus kind of week, as every time I turned around there were mushrooms – and not the ‘trippy’ kind. They kept popping up everywhere!
Those poor little spore-bearing fruiting bodies of a fungus kind of have a bad rap. If people are not joking about them and all their hallucinogenic ways, then others are fearful of them – not only of the poisonous ones that are often the prettiest, but also of what they represent.
But if you stick to the store-bought ones, life can be good; the cooking possibilities, endless!
But, apparently, fungus can be fairly....helpful.
I recently popped into the doctor’s office to have my ear/nose/throat inspected. Usually when I get sick, my throat and ears are most affected, and the way things were feeling in my throat, I was sure a fungus had to be growing in there.
After the doctor stuck the ear-light-thing in my ear making my shoulders squinch up like a little kid, and after sticking a tongue depressor down my throat making me convulsively gag, he said ‘Yup, you were right – things look mighty red down there.’
So after sticking a massive Q-tip-swab down my throat to send away for testing, he started with his usual doctor spiel that I, although I respected what he had to say, kind of tuned-out until one recommendation had me sit up and pay attention.
“There are a lot of bugs going around these days.” He started and I suddenly felt a fool for going there in the first place. He continued. “So get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, get lots of vitamin C....”
At this point I glazed over. Again, not that I didn’t care about what he had to say, but....
“...and eat LOTS of mushrooms and kale.”
Where did that come from?
Had I been, um, unknowingly ‘experimenting’ with mushrooms before setting foot in there? Was I hallucinating? Was I on candid camera? (I surreptitiously looked around for a hidden camera.)
I just did NOT see that one coming.
Not that I am opposed to the immune-building/vitamin-fortifying/health-conscious attributes of vegetables, but whatever happened to the standard “Drink lots of fluids, take lots of Vitamin C, eat lots of chicken soup, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”?
Reeling from the shock of his recommendation, I barely heard him go on about the vitamin D in mushrooms (which I did not know), or about the Vitamin C in kale (I knew it was a super food but the thought of eating kale when I’m sick is not the most appealing, but neither is eating mushrooms).
He certainly cured me because by the time I walked out of there confused and a bit...mystified...my sore throat with swollen glands and aching ear were temporarily forgotten.
So off I went, but I didn’t follow doctor’s orders. I knocked back a few Tylenol with a chaser of a few chocolate-covered cookies. There’s something to be said for comfort food and besides, chocolate has vitamins.
The next day despite being catastrophically near-death, I toddled into work sucking on a cough drop and waiting for the liquor store to open (hot rum, anyone?).
In my workplace are plants intended to provide a sense of health and well-being for all who visit. But they send the wrong message as half of the plants are dying and the other half are covered in dust. I’m in charge of taking care of them.
As I did my duty that day by religiously watering them, I happened to look closely and saw something white peeking out from under the leaves.
What I thought was a dead, decaying, decomposing leaf was actually a....mushroom! (I guess that doesn’t say a lot about my office).
And what is with me and mushrooms these days?
I watered the plant, left the mushroom where it belonged assuming it was good fertilizer and went on my merry, professional way.
When it came time for my lunch break, I made my way down to my favorite shrub-flanked bench by the harbour, hoping beyond hope that no one was sitting on it. I needed a time-out after all the stressful mushroom-appearances in my life during the last 24 hours. But my throat was soothed with another cough drop, the sun was shining, and my bench was available! What a great day!
But just as I sat down, I saw them.
I know mushrooms symbolize many things, male virility being one of them (!), although I am not of that ‘persuasion.’ I also know of the Chinese belief that mushrooms are symbols of happiness and rebirth and of the Mexican belief that the little fruiting bodies of fungus signify knowledge and enlightenment.
But as for the Canadian medical belief that they’re the cure for the common cold? That was news to me.
I did eventually go back to work, constantly looking behind me to see if mushrooms were following me. The cold-bug-thing I had didn’t do me in, but I realized I maybe need to cut back on the amount of cough drops I was ingesting.
And as for all the mushrooms that week?
All I can say is....trippy, man.
Thanks for reading! Lisa