Terrible news everyone! It appears I may be infected with a rare Latin American parasite! I CAN NEVER GIVE BLOOD AGAIN!Now, knowing Paul, this could have been a joke. Or it could have been real. I thought it was probably real. And it was.
When I arrived home, I was careful to knock and ask if the house was under quarantine (it isn't).
Paul, it seems, has had a false positive screening for the tiny little parasite that carries Chagas disease. This is a disease you get in Central or South America, where Paul has never been, especially while living in a hut with adobe walls. For extended periods. One of the causes of Chagas, according to the literature, is "poverty."
"Well." Paul said. "They've got me there."
"We all probably have Chagas, then," I said.
The closest Paul has ever been to the locale where Chagas hangs out is the Bahamas. He was only there a week. The testing people have informed him that it was a false positive. But they are going to test him again, for free, then pay him for his troubles. And they still won't take his blood donations.
"You are rife with parasites," I told him. "You are literally crawling with disease."
"Mom doesn't think it's funny," Paul replied. "And if it were more serious, I wouldn't, either. But it is a false positive."
"Yes," I said. "But know this: I will support you no matter what alternative lifestyle choices you want to make. Even if it means secretly living in an adobe hut in the backyard."