• KO

The Common Calamity

This is an observation on that mutinous, vexatious, egocentric illness that has the audacity to be non-life-threatening. It is known simply as a "cold." We all know how capricious & sinister these cureless little devil viruses are. They strike with the most subtle of warning signs... And the next thing you know, you would gladly hack your nose or tonsils off for just one unlabored inhale.

I'm convinced these b*tches show up once or twice a year to remind us we should appreciate the ability to talk, taste, swallow, smell, sleep & breathe without effort. How pious.

In my experience, the pre or post-super-busy-time sickness is usually my body pumping the brake because I'm not allowing it time to rest adequately. Which is a real b*tch, because that's exactly when I need my immune system to play ball & hang in there & f*cking back me up. When it comes to me & my immune system, we have a very dysfunctional take & take relationship. The moment I feel well, I quickly cast it aside all over again. Which probably explains the passive aggressive nature of my immune system's timing as far as infliction goes.

Probably the most infuriating part of this whole ordeal is denial. I actually consider refuting the presence of an oncoming plague to be the most telling of symptoms. I'll live with coughing, sneezing, congestion & fatigue for at least three or four days before I'll even accept that I "might" be coming down with a legitimate illness. Of course, by that time... I am definitely toast.

Let's not forget life's biggest lie: over-the-counter cold & flu medicine. The promise of serenity. The hope you have when you purchase that box of syrup or tablets or gelcaps with your exact symptoms listed on the label. Extra strength. Long lasting. Immediate relief. You faithfully hop into that Dayquil/Nyquil rotation with the Afrin, Ricola, Chloraseptic, Emergen-C, Theraflu & Tylenol Sinus. You do feel a moderate illusion of "better-ness", but don't get too comfortable because you're at the mercy of a 4 or 6 or 8 hour time limit that drastically wears off about 45 minutes earlier than guaranteed- which is long enough for you to question the point of life itself. And once you reach the hour at which you can re-administer, there's no miracle combination of chemicals capable of convincing you that you're not dying or that you'll ever come out of this alive.

Do you find yourself shrugging off the complaints of people surrounding you when they say "I think I'm getting sick"? So do I. And about one week later, when I'm struggling to take a breath through my Kleenex-scraped nostrils or chapped-lipped mouth & mucus is shooting out of my throat with every tissue shredding mega-cough & an innocent shaft of air tickles my raw throat so severely tears come to my eyes as I almost choke to death, I come to an understanding & maybe even regret my nonchalance. I respect for the briefest of moments the lowly, but powerful contagion that has moved in & knocked me flat on my a**.

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