The Hippo Is Eating Food

Sometime in the early 80’s, one of my younger sisters went with our mother to the grocery store. When they returned, said sister had a brand new pack of Bubblicious bubble gum tucked away in her pocket.

…That neither she nor my mother paid for,
…That my mother knew nothing about until the guilty party was ratted out by a fellow sister,
…That she got in a whole lot of trouble over.

Being called a thief thereafter rattled sister’s chain quite a bit so that became the focal point of jest and name calling towards her – until our parents dared us to call her that again. Our youngest sister got creative and made an acronym: ‘the hippo is eating food’…thief. It made for good laughs to utter the phrase randomly to get sis all rallied up until it was figured out by our parents and therefore unable to be used again.

That was in the 80’s. Fast forward 20 years, there’s a new hippo in town. The hippo has a name and it didn’t come looking for bubble gum nor did it invoke any laughs. Multiple sclerosis began its thievery in or around 2006 and became official (diagnosed) in 2007. July 13, 2007 to be exact. Amongst a plethora of things, this thief has stolen my ability to: be spontaneous, utilize my motor skills without difficulty, live without being self conscious… What’s worse is that this thief has compromised my independence with it’s thievery.

How I long for the thief to be as simple as a hippo eating it’s food, but it’s not. It’s ironic that a silly, childhood taunt could one day be relatable in any way to such a serious circumstance years later. Life certainly has a sense of humor.

The hippo is eating food will always make me remember my little sister and that stolen pack of Bubblicious bubble gum and the laughs, but under the surface, that word thief makes me think of what MS has stolen from me.

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