Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daphanie Droop. A Silent Sufferer of GumB.

Daphanie Droop is a student at St. Bartholomew's Catholic School in Cloverdale. She is the eldest daughter of Eldon and Espa Droop of 253 Maple Lane, a quaint little cottage at the end of the lane surrounded with a pink picket fence and two large willow trees.

Daphanie suffers from Gumtidus Bushalocus, a condition that makes her cringe at the thought of putting anything on her gums. The thought of brushing her teeth makes her violently ill. The thought of flossing can lead to unconsciousness.

People who suffer from GumB live lonely lives. It is difficult for them to get close to people because of ever present halitosis. They keep people at arms length. If its absolutely necessary to talk to a nearby person, they speak with their hand cupped over their mouth to direct exhaled air downwards and not into the face of the person within their comfort zone.

Daphanie has learned how to live with GumB thanks to the group therapy offered at Cloverdale's Clinic. Using role playing techniques, Daphanie learned how to tell people about her condition and caution them, in an unfrightening way, to stand far enough away not be caught unawares by sudden unpleasant smells. Daphanie also learned to keep a tube of toothpaste on hand at all times for sudden proximity situations.

Daphanie used her toothpaste today in her "Catholic Teen Living" class. She and the boy at the end of the third row were asked to demonstrate the proper technique for teen intimacy. They were to perform a Catholic Close Encounter of the Second Kind. They were to stand close to each other and hold hands. The boy at the end of the row volunteered when he discovered Daphanie was the female in the demonstration. Daphanie knew of his interest but, because of her condition, shied away from contact. Today however, when she saw his name on board with a "?" beside it, she grabbed the dry erase marker before anyone else noticed and wrote her name. She knew her therapist would be proud of her. He has worked for months to get her to the point where she could feel comfortable being near a boy she liked.

There is a happy ending to our story. What Daphanie didn't know was that the boy at the end of the third row was also a sufferer of GumB. Minutes before their demonstration, they both gelled up with the toothpaste of their choice. At twelve past two in the afternoon they were called to the front of the class. One stood on Sister Mary Elizabeth's right and the other on her left. On Sister Mary's signal their hands found each other.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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