Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Gift of Messing with People

I miss the days when the Red Cross induction people still asked the questions to decide whether your blood could be used or not. I miss being able to get a distant look on my face and say, "Ah, Mbeke ... " when asked by a complete stranger whether I had ever had sex with any man from Africa.

The truth is: no. No, I have never had sex with any man from Africa. I am not particularly embarrassed about it -- either by the fact or the revealing of the fact, but I do miss the embarrassment it unfailingly created in others. What fun is giving blood if no one will be embarrassed?

These days the asking and answering of all the sticky personal questions is computerized, impersonal, and, well, bloodless. It's impossible to make a computer feel awkward.

But all is not lost: it's still possible to fake fainting in the post-donation "cantine" area where volunteers give out cookies, juice, and other treats.

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