One of the residents at work recently got a prescription for ciprofloxacin, brand name Cipro--also known as the anthrax antibiotic--to ward off a non-anthrax infection. When he was taking his first dose, I casually* mentioned that anthrax treatment was one of the things Cipro was best known for.
He raised an eyebrow and chuckled uneasily, joking, "Uh, I'm pretty sure I don't have anthrax."
I agreed that he probably didn't. Then I said, "Have you ever heard my anthrax story?"
He raised the eyebrow again, a little skeptically this time.
I said, "What? You mean not everyone has an anthrax story?"
Then I shared my anthrax story, which technically is Hubby's anthrax story, but one of the great fringe benefits of marriage is you automatically get a proprietary interest in each other's stories so...
At one time, Hubby had a hazardous materials certification and worked sporadically for a company that would send him to all sorts of emergency and remedial situations. He removed underground storage tanks from an abandoned gas station. He cleaned asphalt that had spilled into a creek when the nozzle at the back of a truck was not properly secured during the road workers lunch break. He assisted with chemical disposal at transfer stations on occasion.
In the fall of 2001, a series of letters containing anthrax spores killed five people and sickened seventeen others. Hubby was called to work on the clean-up of the postal facility in Trenton, NJ through which the letters had passed.
Daughter-Only, who was in first grade at the time, told one of her classmates, "My dad's in New Jersey doing something with anthrax."
Fast forward to mid-January, Hubby has been home and back to normal life for several weeks by this time. He has just gotten out of the shower when there's a knock on the front door.
It's an FBI agent. He wants to know what, precisely, Hubby was doing with anthrax in New Jersey. It was all cleared up in a matter of minutes, but it's a story that will last a lifetime.
*There is some question as to whether it's possible to mention anthrax casually, as the rest of this story will endeavor to show.
The Skin of Our Teeth
1 day ago