Cabana Boy, Schlepped

EMILY: And then she just brushed me off with a wave of her regal hand. Not even a word, just a . . . like I’m her cabana boy. Next thing you know, instead of just walking out of the room, she’ll make me bow and back out. Imperious attitude, she never gives it a rest. I schlepped her to the doctor the other day – by command, not request – and the elevator operator there greeted us nice and friendly. Her doctor’s on the second floor and by the time we got there, that operator was in tears.

In North America, a cabana is a hut, cabin, or shelter at beach or swimming pool, often part of a resort. They can be quite elaborate or luxurious. The word comes from the Spanish for “hut, cabin”. A cabana boy [pictured] is a young male attendant who serves guests from the cabana – typically, these young men are treated like servants by the wealthy, and will be willing to do many little tasks for them in the hopes of receiving tips or favours in return.

Schlepped: Informal American English, meaning “walked or proceeded somewhere in a reluctant manner, typically in the fulfilment of some unwanted burden or duty”. It is from the Yiddish shlepn, meaning “pull, drag”.

Trix moved back to her house in Hartford in January 2003, citing health concerns. It’s only early February, and she is already driving Emily up the wall, treating her like a servant.

Note that Trix had a doctor’s appointment, as a reminder that her health needs monitoring. By the way, Trix previously said that she couldn’t abide women driving, so how did Emily transport her to the doctor’s office?

Howard Stern

LORELAI: And the second thing is, you need to tell me why you’re sitting like that.
SHERRY: Maureen told me that Howard Stern said that if you squat, it makes the baby come out faster.
LORELAI: Okay, as long as you have a sane reason from a reliable source.

Howard Stern (born 1954), radio and television personality, comedian, and author. He is best known for his radio show, The Howard Stern Show, which gained popularity when it was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2005. His show attracted a lot of controversy and was considered vulgar and outrageous.

Despite this, and Lorelai’s understandable disdain for Stern as an authority on medical issues, squatting is actually recommended as a safe and effective position to give birth in.

Xerox and Fax

LORELAI: What are you doing?
RORY: Xeroxing … Sherry had some status reports she promised to fax to people by tomorrow but she didn’t bring enough, and so I’ve been trying to find a Xerox machine. I finally conned someone in ICU into letting me use theirs. I haven’t found a fax machine yet, but –

Xerox, previously discussed.

Fax [pictured], short for facsimile, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine, which processes the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image, converting it into a bitmap, and then transmitting it through the telephone system in the form of audio-frequency tones. The receiving fax machine interprets the tones and reconstructs the image, printing a paper copy. First in use in 1865, before the invention of the telephone (it used telegraph), fax machines were ubiquitous in offices in the 1980s and 1990s, but have gradually been rendered almost obsolete by email and the internet.

This particular winning anecdote is a complete nonsense – Rory wouldn’t need to make multiple copies of the document in order to fax it to multiple people. The fax machine would only need one document, and she just needs to find one of those. They are commonly used in hospitals, even today.

However, in true overly entitled Gilmore style, Rory has no compunction about going into the intensive care unit to demand use of their Xerox machine. At night! The Emily is strong in this one.

Flashback 4

Lorelai is eating a sandwich and watching TV when her labour pains begin. We know it’s a pepper sandwich (I think this means a bell pepper or capsicum sandwich, which sounds weird?), because it was mentioned in an earlier episode. There is a cut, and then we see her at the hospital registry, filling out forms on her own.

She has come to the hospital by herself (presumably in a taxi) and there’s nobody to help her with the paperwork or offer support, not even Christopher. To add poignancy to this, there is a young man standing behind Lorelai with a bunch of flowers for someone, but there is nothing for Lorelai.

Napoleon III and Chagall

LORELAI: Okay, then, it’s settled. We’re not staying at any place that wasn’t built for Napoleon the Third’s doctor or doesn’t have a Chagall in the bathroom.

Napoleon III, born Charles Napoléon Bonaparte (1808-1873) the first President of France from 1848 to 1852, and the last monarch of France as Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. A nephew of Napoleon I, he was a popular monarch who oversaw the modernisation of the French economy and filled Paris with new boulevards and parks. One of his doctors was the surgeon Félix-Hippolyte Larrey; he owned a small castle, but I have been unable to learn if he had a house built for him.

Marc Chagall [pictured], born Moishe Shagal (1887-1985), Russian-French artist. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, drawings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints.


FRANCIE: Paris wasn’t around. She was off yet again with the mystery man.

RORY: Jealous?

FRANCIE: Of Paris’s lobotomy victim? I think not.

Lobotomy, or leucotomy, a form of neurosurgical treatment for psychiatric or neurological disorder that involves severing connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The surgery causes most of the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain, to be severed.

In the past, this treatment was used for treating psychiatric disorders as a mainstream procedure in some countries. The procedure was controversial from its initial use, in part due to a lack of recognition of the severity and chronicity of severe and enduring psychiatric illnesses, so it was claimed to be an inappropriate treatment.

The use of the procedure increased dramatically from the early 1940s and into the 1950s; by 1951, almost 20,000 lobotomies had been performed in the United States and proportionally more in the United Kingdom. More lobotomies were performed on women than on men: a 1951 study found that nearly 60% of American lobotomy patients were women. From the 1950s onward, lobotomy began to be abandoned as a psychiatric treatment.

Frontal lobe surgery, including lobotomy, is the second most common surgery for epilepsy to this day, and usually done on one side of the brain, unlike lobotomies for psychiatric disorder which were done on both sides of the brain.


RORY: He’ll like whatever you get him.

LORELAI: If I slip him a Quaalude, he’ll like whatever I get him.

Quaalude is the old brand name in the US for the sedative Methaqualone; Quaalude is a portmanteau word combining “quiet interlude”. It was so readily available in the US that it was handed out at semi-legal “stress clinics” in the 1970s and ’80s. The drug was discontinued in the US in 1985 due to concerns about recreational abuse of the drug, which gave it a very bad reputation.

Kirk’s Medicines

KIRK: Oh, nothing, just a little scratch.

LORELAI: Looks like a big scratch. Wow, Bactine, Neosporin, Mercurochrome – what’s with all the pharmacologicals?

Bactine: an antiseptic treatment containing lidocaine anaesthetic, first marketed in 1950.

Neosporin: broad spectrum antibiotic cream containing anaesthetic, approved for use in the US in 1971.

Mercurochrome: a topical antiseptic with a dye which stains the wound bright red. First developed in 1918, its distribution in the US was halted in 1998, due to concerns about it containing mercury. Somehow it is still available for sale in Stars Hollow in 2002! It is now manufactured in the US without any mercury.