Holy shit, DO NOT break a glass in my house. You’d get less of a reaction from my wife if you set yourself on fire. Yesterday, I dropped a small ceramic ramekin (I am not ashamed of knowing what a ramekin is) which broke into a few pieces on the kitchen counter. Lindsay dashed into the room as if she’d heard  a pregnant woman was trying to move a chair, or my father was poised to drop an orange peel into the garbage disposal.

It’s not that she’s particularly attached to this specific ramekin. In fact, she suffers from an undiagnosed psychological disorder that causes her intense mental discomfort if she touches unglazed pottery (a hundred times worse than fingernails on a chalkboard, she says.) That should have made the ramekin’s demise a nonevent,  but unfortunately, her manic fear of broken glass trumps her aversion to kiln-fired clay.

Even the faintest sound of a dish mishap sets her off. “What was that? Did something break?  NO ONE MOVE!”  Our kids stop, frozen in place, if only to witness  their mother’s werewolf-like transformation from fun-loving delight, to grizzled homicide detective. When arriving on the scene, she’ll often ask, “So, what am I looking at here? Do we have an approximate shatter radius?” She seals off the perimeter and starts barking orders,  “Jason, you get the vacuum and broom. Silas, I need 4 paper towels, a dustpan, tweezers, and two tubes of cherry Chapstick, and I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TELL YOU WHY!”

Apparently, as a teenager, she’d heard an urban myth about a young man who ingested a small bit of glass and suffered severe lacerations to his intestines. I suspect she was on acid, sitting around a campfire with friends, when she heard this ghost story, because it’s weaved into her psyche tighter than her memory of being attacked by a muskrat (true). Now, 25 years later, she’s mortified that a similar injury will happen to one of our children (glass, not muskrat).

I try to explain to her that, not only is it exceedingly difficult to accidentally eat glass, but also, if swallowing a little bit of it really did that much damage, people would be dropping dead all over the place and glass possession would be a felony. She thought I was being naive and reminded me that there’s a good reason glass is called “the silent killer.” (It’s not)

There’s really nothing I can say to calm her.

“I vacuumed the entire downstairs, mopped and waxed the floors, washed all our clothes and shaved the children, so we should be all set.”

“Ummmmmm, hardly. What about the closets and the steps? Did you vacuum the inside of the CLOSETS!??!?? Plus, there are still probably tiny particles floating in the air. I can totally smell glass in the air.”

The good thing about all this is I know that if I’m ever having a heart attack, all I have to do is throw a mug against the wall and she’ll come running.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

3 comments On BEWARE OF GLASS

  • honestly i can understand the fear of glass… after a glass cup broke while i was washing it and after 5 hours in emerg. and 3 stitches later i no longer actually use glass cups. we have a similar routine when one hears glass breaking only the youngest is in charge of holding the dog. its not however the fear of eatting the glass its the fear of slicing some random body part on whatever tiny piece we miss during clean up.

  • I once found a piece of glass in my cup-o-ramen. Don’t have any idea how it got there but now whenever I attempt to eat one I pick through the noodles like a primate looking for parasites on someone’s hairy back.

  • I LOVE unglazed pottery. Nothing better than sekanjabin in an unglazed cup… well, maybe coffee in a glass cup is close… uh. Uh-oh.

    My three year old bit the glass he was drinking grape juice out of.

    Once the half-moon shaped missing piece managed to register in my brain, I got him to spit and wash out his mouth, etc. We took him to emerg where we were promptly sent home to "wait and see." Because there is nothing they can do. They can't even test to find out IF he swallowed anything.


    but he's fine. And I don't actually have a glass coffee mug just now…

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