October 05, 2007


Deaths from amoebas are in the news, garnering attention because of public health concerns, and their possible relation to climate change.

While in the last few years, if anyone had mentioned amoebas to me, I would have thought about intestinal distress, and shrugged, given that I lived through a cholera epidemic soaking my veggies in chlorox water. These amoeba stories take me back to my childhood.

I always worried that my big brother was going to die from amoebas.

Crazy, right? Where does a little kid get an idea like that?

Her mother.

See, growing up in South Florida, there are lots of canals. And while many of them are disgusting and full of trash, or choked with algae, or scary with critters, some actually looked appealing (or did when I was a kid). I remember going fishing with my dad and brother in the canals west of town, out towards the 'Glades. I remember the time that my brother (my dad? I think they both reeled on it) thought he had hooked The Big One, only to find out that it was a bench seat from some 1970s monster vehicle. Thinking back, we're probably lucky we didn't hook into something else.

Anyway, my big brother was over a decade older than me, and a bit of a wild thing. He got himself into more than a few scrapes, which probably worried me, because I followed him around like a puppy. I remember taking a blanket into his room and sleeping in his royal blue metallic bean bag chair just to be near him.

But of all the things it could have been, I can remember my mom telling him (loose paraphrase):

You better not be waterskiing in those canals because they have amoebas that will get in your ears and into your brain and kill you!

It's funny what a kid's brain seizes on, and how that becomes one of the things you remember. The good news is, he never did get those amoebas, and not only did he survive them, he survived all the other scrapes with trees and motorcycles and barnacles and bridges and who-knows-what-we-never-even-heard about. And today is his 50th birthday, so I'll just say:

Happy Birthday Jimmy! I'm glad the amoebas didn't get you!

Posted by binky at October 5, 2007 01:14 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Ecology | Florida | Health | Latin America | Natural Disasters | Random Thoughts

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