Number 83 on the list of things I am irrationally afraid of.

I’m afraid of calling a pap smear a pap schmear.

As most people know, a pap smear is a test women are supposed to get regularly to screen for cervical cancer.  I don’t know why, but I have to really fight the urge to call it a pap schmear when I’m in the gynecologist’s office, and I feel like it would be really embarrassing if I did. Maybe it is because it is such a dreadful word to begin with.

So I just call it a pap test, thereby avoiding potential shame.

It’s like Calvary and Calgary—I know that one is a place in Canada that hosted a Winter Olympics and one is the place in the Bible where Jesus was crucified, but I can’t remember which is which, especially when I’m on the spot. So I just mumble the end of the word on the rare occasions in which I’m called on to refer to one of those things.

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