The Potty List

Melissa Stagnaro

I’m starting to worry about the health of those I consider some of my closest friends. They seem to all be coming down with the same malady of late. No, it’s not H1N1, or any other type of flu for that matter.

I call it the inability-to-return-a-phone-call-itis. Though similar in some respects to the more common phone-tag-arrhea and failure-to-reply-to-email-osis, this strain is far more insidious.

The symptoms are easy to spot: a seeming paralysis of the digits normally used for dialing, temporary nerve deafness which prevents one from hearing the precise frequency at which a phone rings and a general befuddlement which causes address books or cell phones to be misplaced and numbers forgotten.

As far as I know there is no inoculation or vaccine which can protect you from it, but if identified early and treated promptly those who contract it are not likely to suffer any long term affects.

If, however, it is not treated with a healthy dose of catching up in a timely manner, the sufferer may experience temporary placement on the Potty List.

If symptoms are allowed persist, it can lead to permanent demotion of friend status.

Sometimes, in the most extreme cases, the sufferer doesn’t even realize the true extent of their illness. They may try to substitute a simple text message in lieu of undergoing full treatment, but while this may temporarily relieve the symptoms, the underlying condition will persist.

Intervention has not proven successful in these cases, largely because the very nature of the disease makes them difficult to organize. No, in these instances the only recourse is to completely starve the poor person of further attention until they come to their senses, as painful as that may be to their (soon to be) former friends and loved ones.

Because it is the friends and loved ones who suffer most through all of this, what with their pointless waiting by the phone for those stricken with this horrible wasting disease to recover from their malady and actually return a phone call now and then.

In fact, medical experts now say that those exposed to people with inability-to-return-a-phone-call-itis for long periods of time are prone to bouts of irritability and crankiness. And that can be a sign of early on-set I’m-Crossing-You-Off-My-Christmas-List-ism.

And trust me, no one wants that. Especially this time of year.

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