There are certain things that I expect to see in a hospital gift shop. Books, cards, flowers — the tried and true things that tell a patient, “Hey, here’s a little something for you to stare at while you’re needled, medicated, and feel like crap.” But for the unconventional, you can apparently also say these things with hummus…
When I’m under-the-weather, the first thing I reach for usually isn’t hummus. (It’s Nyquil — because the active pharmacologic ingredients (as far as I can tell) are Everclear and green food coloring.) So I admit that I was a little surprised when I recently saw the tasty Middle Eastern treat offered among the various wares at a hospital gift shop. It wouldn’t occur to me to give someone Egyptian food dip for Christmas or Valentine’s Day — so why gift it to someone who may be staring down the barrel of a DNR order? (“In case you don’t make it out of surgery, here, please enjoy these mashed chickpeas.”)
Intrigued by the hummus, I decided to investigate the gift shop more thoroughly — you know, for other things to mock.
The gift shop did not disappoint.
There was an entire section devoted to wedding paraphernalia. Frames. Albums. Champagne flutes. There was even a “Mr. Right” coffee mug. Romance must have been leaping out of every available bedpan to justify having this much nuptial tchotchke. It had never occurred to me to search for a potential mate in the ICU or a coma ward. But shame on me for missing such an obviously brilliant idea. Does the lioness in the Serengeti go after the young, healthy gazelles? Hell no. They run too fast. It’s the sickly, lame, gimpy gazelles in the back of the herd that are targeted.
Thus so here. A hospital is the ideal place to hunt for Mr. Right. The men are bed-ridden, likely chained to monitors, and potentially already tranquilized. (I can’t run fast, but I can out-run the comatose.) I can even narrow and tailor my search based on disease state: Cardiology patient? Hmm. He might keel over too quickly. Gastroenterology? Nah. Might have a colostomy bag. Orthopedics? Perfect. Bones heal.
And what incapacitated man could possibly resist me? After all, I have hummus.