I learned most of what I know about how to be sick from my father, an RN with a strong suspicion of organized medicine. He taught me that you never go to the doctor, not unless it's something really, really serious, because most things can be taken care of at home and with a little time, and mostly, he was right (but don't tell him I said that). Back in the 1980s he helped write a home health care guide called the "Healthwise Handbook," all about how to take care of minor medical maladies at home. I loved this book and spent hours pouring over my favorite entries—how to remove a ring that's stuck on (hint: floss and butter), how to remove a fish hook (it's gotta go out at the same angle it came in) and my all-time favorite: how to tell if your erectile dysfunction is physical or psychological. I was fascinated by so much of this entry—what's an erectile? How could something that's happening to the body be a problem of the mind (a question that's motivated much of my research as an academic, now that I think about it)? Mostly I loved the simple solution. According to my youthful reading, the penis becomes erect something like 40 times a night (that number's got to be high, but hey, memories), without even thinking about it. To test your erectile dysfunction, loosely wrap a strip of stamps around your dick, and if the perforations are torn in the morning, it's something in your head. I don't know how you test this stuff now that stamps are all self-adhesive, but I always thought this little trick was pure genius, and I liked to think about all the dicks wrapped in stamps in beds across America.