A shaft of bright orange morning sun spilled from a patient room out into the hallway. I glanced at the assignment sheet in my hand and yawned. How much sleep had I gotten last night? five hours! A deep weariness that I felt to the very marrow of my bones weighed me down. In the hall, two phlebotomists rushed past the nursing station toward the elevator with fresh blood samples to be tested.
Too tired to search within myself for energy and enthusiasm, the sterling qualities of the perfect employee, I did the next best thing. I found a blood pressure machine and without thinking about how I’d manage, trundled it tiredly down the hall toward my first patient’s room. As I passed the janitor’s closet, I heard a trio of housekeepers cheerfully chattering about their families as they filled mop buckets with water and disinfectant.
The next hour passed quickly. My tiredness and reluctance to work disappeared as I entered into a peppy race to complete my assignment in the allotted time. There were interesting people to talk to, amusing thoughts to think, fun things to say. One of my patients looked up at me and said, “Every morning you come into my room looking so bright and cheerful! Don’t you ever get tired?”
With a secretive Mona Lisa smile, I responded, “I have an interesting job. Not a single day is like the one before.”
At the door of the room, one of the housekeepers said, “Watch your step, Kathy. The floor is wet because I mopped up some spilled coffee.”
Grateful for the warning I said, “Thanks…what’s this I hear about you having an important meeting to attend this afternoon?”
Rolling her eyes she said with a sigh, “We have to review the correct way to clean up blood, chemical, and radioactive spills.”
With a laugh I warned, “Better listen closely. You don’t want to go home from work some evening and discover at bedtime that you glow in the dark!”
That afternoon I remembered my conversation with her when I saw the three housekeepers at the end of the hall waiting for an elevator. They were leaving for their Safety Meeting. A silly thought crossed my mind…a humorous parallel between them and the three Teen-aged Mutant Ninja Turtles.
While making a bed I wondered, “If the comic books turned three small, helpless turtles contaminated by radioactive sewer glop into powerful defenders of justice, how would they portray three nuclear-charged housekeepers?”
The idle question sent my imagination into overdrive. Giggling, I pictured the housekeepers turning into Middle-aged Mutant Mothers! Dirt would be their enemy and their goal in life would be to be perfect mothers! They’d scrub floors faster than a flash and offer three gourmet meals a day to their families with a mere flip of a wrist.
Not only would these super women bake bread, but they would also grow and grind the wheat needed for it without one of them forming even a single bead of perspiration or mussing their hair in the process. To amuse their children at Halloween, they’d sew shark costumes for the goldfish.
I pictured the Middle-aged Mutant Mothers clad in casual but natty cocktail party loungewear. Their correspondence would always be kept up to date. Packs of Christmas cards tied in festive ribbons would be promptly presented to the mailman by hand, no later than on the first day of December each year, along with a gift for him; a loaf of cholesterol-free fruitcake.
It suddenly occurred to me that these wonder women sounded a lot like someone I’ve heard about, but who? I frowned as I went about my work, trying to think of the answer. Then it suddenly occurred to me, I’d unwittingly patterned the Middle-aged Mutant Mothers after MARTHA STEWART! I wondered, “Was Martha ever accidentally irradiated?” I chuckled. Looking up from what I was doing, I noticed that the patient I was with had an alarmed look on his face. He questioned, “Are you laughing at me?”
Chuckling guiltily I answered, “No, of course not! I was just thinking about Martha Stewart.” My explanation sounded lame, even to MY ears. I sighed, “Walter Mitty wasn’t the only person who liked to daydream. I was just wondering if an accidental irradiation turned Martha Stewart into an overachieving Middle-aged Mutant Mother.”