I thought hard how I could have become impregnated. Oh yeah. When I first came to Belgium way back when, I had sat in a restaurant looking at a menu in French and Flemish, neither of which was very enlightening. I spotted something on the menu that read, "Filet Americain." I was American, it said a filet; this was made for me. I assumed it had to be a hamburger, or a steak; I didn't want to reveal myself as a typical American abroad and demand explanations in slow, half-shouted English; I was a hopeful sophisticate. I ordered my filet, sat back and waited to be served something recognizable with a little American flag stuck in it.

They returned with a platter of raw hamburger; an equally raw egg lay in a mini-crevice they had pushed into the top of the mound. They showed it to me. I thought, This is special. As though this lump of meat was some exotic fresh fish or an expensive piece of sirloin they were displaying to me before cooking. I nodded, thinking, Great, go cook it, put it in a bun and bury it in ketchup and yellow mustard and onions and bring it back. Instead, my nod was taken as agreement and they placed the dish in front of me.

I looked from my plate to the retreating back of the waiter, back to my plate of raw meat, raw egg, mayonnaise, garnish, and fries. What lay before me was a good start, not a finished meal. I glanced around at fellow diners, to see if they were staring in horror at me, but no. In fact, some guy two tables over actually had the same thing and was mixing it all together in his dish and then putting forkfuls of the stuff in his mouth. This seemed a typical Belgian dish. Be cool. When in Rome.

So I squished the meat and egg together, stirred the mayonnaise in there, mixed in some raw onions, added salt, pepper, sat back, gathered courage, put some on the edge of my fork, slid it between my teeth, slid it out clean. Let my tongue judge. Amazingly, it wasn't disgusting. So I took another forkful, tasted, judged, and in went another. I ate, and ate it all. And ordered it on several occasions thereafter, one of which, probably, wasn't as moo-fresh as could be hoped, and hence the origin of my beef tapeworm.