Victory in Worms–or a strange essay about George

May 9, 2005Write!

My friend Jeanne’s husband George is a worm man. Truly. He studies them. Deeply. But, I am afraid he can’t help me with the worms in our home.

Poor Julia came down with pinworms, probably courtesy of our cat Madeline who sleeps nearby. My worry was that I wouldn’t know how to ask the pharmacist for medicine. I looked up pinworms on a French site, but they translated them, drumroll please, “PINWORMS.” Not helpful. Then, I separated the words to read pin worm. Then I got ver d’epingle, which means worm of pin (like a pin you use in sewing). No go.

So, at school, I asked a mom. “I don’t know what they are called in French,” she said, her native language being Bulgarian.

She asked another French mom who said, “Just say ‘petites vers.'”

So, armed with the French equivalent of “little worms,” I ventured to the Pharmacie and carried on an entire conversation in French (yeah!!!) about little worms that are white, ‘petites vers qui sont blancs.’ She knew exactly what I meant! And gave me medicine for the whole family for three glorious euros. Elated, I gave each child a high-five. “We must celebrate our little victories,” I told them.

So, George, I’m really sorry to have to say this. I know of your fond affection for petites vers, but we’re going to eradicate them here in France. At least the pinworm variety.