The Germ of An Idea
So here we are on day eleven of my thirty days of essays, and for the first time, I'm behind. As you probably recall, initially there was a flurry of activity as I wrote four essays in rapid succession, thus taking care of the first eight days of essays and culminating on the day I apparently decided to see if I really needed to see a plastic surgeon, or whether I could manage a "do it yourself" sort of alteration, by attempting to use gravity and poorly placed heavy objects to see if I could rearrange the bones in my face.
All that attempt managed was to knock whatever sense of humor I have completely out of my head.
Actually, the truth is that for much of the ensuing time, I've been sick. And not in the "um, we read your essays, Liam, WE could have told you that" sense, either.
You see, I've been spending a significant amount of time with my 4 year old son, because after tomorrow, I will never see him again. Oh, he's not going anywhere, he just won't be my 4 year old son any more.
But one of the things parents of small children will tell you is that they have an astonishing ability to visit plagues and other pestilences upon our houses. Really, you can visit the infectious disease ward of your local hospital, and there's a good chance that you won't come down with even a sniffle, but have a single-digit aged child in your house, and no matter how liberally you slather yourself down with "Purell", no matter how often you scrub them down in the bath tub, you will spend the vast majority of your time ill.
You can even commission a major prophylactic manufacturer to build a giant, full-body condom and wear it 24x7, breathing through a sophisticated HEPA filter, never allowing even the most basic of human-to-human contact, and somehow you will still end up sick. And looking like a complete dork. Or, um, so I would imagine.
And the most tragic part of the whole thing is that those same children, those "typhoid Mary" toddlers somehow manage to sneeze twice, whine for the better part of an hour and a half, and then bounce back like nobody's business, while their unsuspecting parents, who take such care NOT to shake each other's hands just moments after admiring on one of the fingers of one of those hands a world-record-setting booger carefully extracted from a nostril, their adult bodies react in much the same fashion as one might react to a close encounter with a speeding semi tractor trailer, but with significantly less visible tread damage.
The secret, of course, is that as we age, we become jaded, and as our bodies age, they do as well. When we were children, a germ, bacteria, virus or other big bad nasty would enter our body, and it would immediately snap to attention, marshal all of the various forces and attack the invader, eradicating it from existence in much the same way (and with essentially the same speed) as an anvil dropped onto a common house fly. But as we age, our bodies get tired. "Eh, I'll get it in a minute" they say or "Oh, great, so you went and swam in the sewage treatment vats again, and you expect ME to clean up your mess", and then roll over and return to the nap that, lets face it, we wish we ourselves were taking, such that by the time our bodies get around to marshaling the troops (and let's be honest, we haven't exactly taken good care of those troops, either. Flabby, out of shape, and suffering major attrition, our "immunity army" isn't what it once was), whole sections of the body have been fully taken over by the disease.
As we speak, my son is almost fully over his disease, his symptoms but a dull memory, except for a bad case of conjunctivitis, which does not appear to be bothering him in the slightest. The white part of his eyes are now the sort of blood red which usually indicates a recently turned member of the undead class, or a college student after a three-day-weekend-long bender merely WISHING he was, but since I woke up this morning with no more holes in my neck than I had when I started, and since he's too short to reach the liquor cabinet, I'm pretty sure it's just "pink eye".
Meanwhile, my throat is feeling like it's been carefully sanded with #30 coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any of that pesky lining which usually prevents our blood from attaining the freedom which should be the birth right of every American blood cell. I'm having spasms which aren't so much coughs as violent attempts to expel my appendix without surgery. And my voice is a mere whispered rasp, about as pleasing to listen to as a dental drill, but somehow less soothing.
Day eleven of my thirty days. I've got to write SOMETHING. Just, whatever you do, don't TOUCH it as you read it. I've run out of Purell, and I'm not sure puerile is really an adequate substitute.
Copyright © Dec 20, 2010 by Liam Johnson. http://humor.liamjohnson.net