I awakened last Friday to the irritating sound of an alarm. It sounded like the worn transmission of a Sherman tank. I also had a headache that would make G. Gordon Liddy spill military secrets. My eyes were red watery and felt too big for their sockets. My nose was plugged and my throat felt like my last meal was cactus. Since my grasp of the obvious has been nothing short of amazing, I deduced that I had been caught a cold or the flu.
I learned the “I am irreplaceable” myth from one of my secretaries when I was back the work field. When I came in looking sick my secretary got a small pail of water. She told me to stick my hand in the water. I thought that she may have an old wives remedy and I stuck my hand right in the pail. She said now pull it out. “See how big a hole you left?”
In spite of the gladness I felt that I didn’t have to work was exacerbated by the demonstration that she had cooked up to show just how “irreplaceable” I was! This time I didn’t need a humiliating demonstration to think that it was time to stay home. You see, a cold or the flu is natures way of telling you to take a day off, and we all know we listen to Mother Nature.
Man has recognized the value of the common cold by allowing it to remain with us for all these years. I mean, do you really believe with our ability to research and our modern medical techniques that allows us to replace organs, remove wrinkles, eradicate the plague, put a man on the moon and increase life expectancies; that we couldn’t cure a cold if we wanted too? If you believe that I want to invest in my new palm tree farm in Canada.
O.K., You girls and women may stop reading at this point. Because we men are going to start talking about fantasy football, carburetors, NASCAR, and whether a run or pass would be better on third and five from the 32 yard line. Man stuff. You wouldn’t be interested.
Well now that we are alone men, thanks to my sly ploy, which I do say was slicker than snot on a brass knob, we can get down to the real nitty-gritty.
The reasons that the common cold hasn’t been cured are very good ones. First off, it isn’t really a disease, it is just a damn nuisance. We have to endure some discomfort, but it certainly isn’t life-threatening. Besides, in a week or 10 days it will all be over.
Secondly, and more importantly, it is a ticket to some good old-fashioned pampering and sympathy from the opposite sex. This can be bled four or more days if you play your cards right. The watery eyes, red nose, croaky voice and nasal tone all help to “sell the illness” to those around who all of a sudden want to wait on us for all out needs.
But, take warning! If you want this to work to your full advantage and want to get all the mileage out of that measly virus, you have to do it right!
The first play in the morning is the most important. Always extract yourself from bed with a great deal of moaning and groaning. (Body aches, remember?) Sit on the edge of the bed sniffling and blowing your nose for as long as it takes to arouse those who slept thru the moaning. As soon as everyone is awake, pop a thermometer into your mouth. (A thermometer in the mouth is the picture of sick.)
If you still work, or if the wife has a project for you to do, NEVER, NEVER, tell your boss or your wife (no difference) that you are staying home or can’t do the project. It makes you sound like a wimp!
Instead, say something like this: “My fever is down to 102 and my throat just opened a minute ago, so as soon as I stop coughing up blood, I will be glad to come in if you need me. (This way, not only will they not want you anywhere near the work area, but they will marvel at your gallantry.)
Now that the hook is set, follow the rest of these rules carefully to make your cold into a mini-vacation.
- Set up a sickroom. Remember there will be some discomfort to put up with, and you may as well be prepared. Plenty of food, drink, books, magazines and television are must items!
- You need a sofa. You don’t look sick enough in a chair, but being out of bed shows a fighting spirit. Always have a cover; a heavy old quilt made by someone’s grandma is best.
- Accompany any all movements with pitiful moans.
- Spend as much time as possible napping and never allow yourself to become fully awake.
- Have pride in your appearance!! Pick out your oldest, ugliest, flannel bathrobe and never shave or comb your hair. You must always appear desperately ill. (Old sweaters add to the look too, wear several)
- If anyone asks how you are, never answer immediately: always cough first in then in your best “voice of the dead,” answer: “Oh, I’ll be alright, I guess.”
- Perfect and practice the long, sad, heaving sigh.
- Always be seen, whenever possible, just leaving the bathroom. And never walk – shuffle.
- If you awaken during the night and can’t sleep, make sure no one else does. Feign Delerium.
- Lastly, don’t believe that crap about “starving a fever.” Always feed every ailment no matter what it is. When you don’t eat, the fever doesn’t starve – you do.
For those you who may be interested, I plan to feel sort of “icky” all through the weekend and if you would like you could just drop off you freshly baked goods to my home.