austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

What a funny feeling in my eyes and ears and throat

I picked up a cold. It was an impulse thing. At least I hope it was. Imagine putting some thought into getting one: me, there at the medical stuff store, putting liquid skin, a Wi-Fi enabled pancreas, maybe a backup tongue on the conveyor belt, and the clerk asks, ``Do you also want a cold?'' I'd ask ``A cold what?'' The clerk gets that more than ``the bar code didn't scan, it must be free'', so growls, ``Knock it off, Lou Costello.'' I'm compelled to point out, ``No, that was Bud Abbott.'' ``Who?'' ``Exactly.'' When I recover consciousness after being slugged the clerk asks if I want a cold and something for my bruises.

And somehow I reason, ``I have noticed that when I sit still, I don't slowly and helplessly tip over while my breathing rasps like a one-cylinder model car running out of gas, and I often go hours without thinking I'm so boiling hot that I'm freezing, so, yes, I want a cold!'' That's too wordy for me, especially if I have to talk to a stranger.

If they're my words, anyway. I'll agree to things that I don't really want to do because it's easier agreeing than continuing to talk to strangers, which is how I ended up in grad school and three of my last five jobs. But that needs the clerk to spontaneously ask, ``would you want to spend a couple days finding you can't actually turn your head too far?'' Maybe I would agree, but just because I wasn't thinking about it. This is the most popular way of getting a cold; there's only a few people who've got regular cold subscriptions.

If I had to get a cold at least I got a respectable one. It's not feeble, the kind where you get a little crankier without anyone feeling sorry for you, and you just scatter tissues over the furniture and one on your head and walk around wrapped up in a light blanket. That kind of cold you barely even get people noticing you and walking to the other side of the municipality. It's not even worth getting sick, except for your germs, and who asked them?

What I've got is the kind of cold where it's hard staying hydrated enough because sipping tea is too loud. I'm not sure why colds need to be kept hydrated, except it makes it easier to get all sweaty and disgusting all over. I could get that from ten minutes of running in place followed by jumping into a pool of sweaty and disgusting water, except that I'm sore enough running's impossible. Walking's pretty iffy too. I've always had tight hamstrings, designed for a person about two-thirds my size, stretched so tight that when I bend my knees they leap outside my skin and come to a rest five inches behind myself, but this adds a new kind of soreness.

Really, what is the crazy part in figuring if I could just stand on some roller bearings and slide around using ski poles? The ski poles, of course; I've never gone skiing, and the only person I know who did was my father, who quit in 1970 when he finally noticed whenever he went skiing it was cold and snowy. (He had a similar revelation about camping three years later.)

As it is I can't go down a stair step in one footfall. I can't even make it in two; I need three or four to get down. Still, I've had several productive days at work, if by ``productive'' you mean ``was able to get up all the needed stairs before it was time to go home''. And I can go home, put on a yellow shirt, drink Nyquil until a little red ribbon trickles out my mouth, and pretend to be Captain Kirk explaining that he's not angry, he's just very, very disappointed that a species of omnipotent Klieg lights and echo machines like yours is making humanoids engage in fisticuffsmanship for amusement.

Maybe I do need more fluids. If you know any fluids, please have them contact me at the above post office box, omitted for clarity.

Trivia: At the height of the Spanish Influenza pandemic, Colonel Philip Doane asserted that ``German agents'' coming over ``in submarines'' had brought the disease to the United States. Doane was the office in charge of health at United States shipyards. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story Of The Greatest Pandemic In History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: Darkness At Noon, Arthur Koestler.


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