I apparently had the plague this weekend. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all, Puddin, dood, I totally know what you mean when you say that. I mean, this one time, I went to Vegas/New Orleans/Tijuana/Buffalo** and I picked up this hangover so bad it was like fighting a nineteen-headed hell-beast from Greek mythology that ate gods, crapped fire, and laid eggs of darkness and soul-sucking torment more sinister than a 24 hour Keeping Up with The Kardashians marathon.
But, no. I wasn’t hungover. I’m, like, almost 41 years old (sixteen days and counting). Tying one on and attempting to keep up with The Wolf Pack as they degrade themselves through another OMG-why-didn’t-they-quit-while-they-were-ahead misadventure in mild altering substances, shame, and Ken Jeong, isn’t properly dignified behavior for a fellow of my increasing age. Which is to say, I used to be able to sleep until 1 in the afternoon when I was hungover and then spend the rest of the day on the couch, staring gape-mouthed at a golf-tournament I couldn’t possibly care about on television while contemplating ordering a large pizza with both kinds of toppings: meat and grease.
My current lifestyle doesn’t make allowances for this sort of hangover therapy. As a result, I do my best to avoid such foolishness.
Plus also, wicked reflux.
Ahem. The point is, no, when I say I had the plague this weekend, it was actually like a sickness brought on by exposure to a viral or bacterial contagion. That is, I literally had some kind of cooties for a few days.
Of course, longtime readers will likely remember that we’ve been down this road before. It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote of my methodology for avoiding a head cold that’s just starting to secure a beachhead in the Omaha Beach of you sinuses. Even before that, I made a point to decry the phenomena well documented in modern medical journals as the “dreaded man cold”. See, my personal belief is that life is too short to give in to a cold, so, look here, nasty draining phlegm, I don’t like you any more than I like cold Swiss cheese (ick!) so you won’t be hanging around any longer than is absolutely necessary. And while you are temporarily visiting el cabeza de Puddin, I will be ignoring you the same way that the creationist people ignore modern science: through force of will and years of practice.
In other words, if you asked the Puddinette how I usually respond when obviously have a cold (because I sound like an adult Peanuts’ character, but more nasal and less coherent), she’ll tell you my standard, stoic answer is either, “I’m fine,” “I’ll live,” or “The sheep in the fields will be cold tonight when the squid come for their femurs”.
(I mean, sometimes you just have to answer things in complete nonsense because it’s fun. How else do you keep your marriage interesting? There’s only so much Law and Order you can watch together. Dun-Duh.)
Aaaaaaanyway. So the story goes that when I came home from work Friday, I thought I had a cold. Then, at some point while I slept that night, I woke up freezing. And I don’t mean “just chilly”. We’re not talking just-pull-up-the-comfortable-a-bit here, but, OMG-how-did-I-wake-up-in the-arctic-without-any-clothing-oh-the-hypothermia-it-burns kind of cold. In other words, I’m about as likely to wake up in the middle of the night freezing as your mom is likely to tell you never mind about your vegetables, now get outside and jump that bike of yours over the creek bed without a helmet, and here, take some of the sharp kitchen knives with you. As a certified pillow turner, I usually seek out every last inch of chill I can find during the few hours each AM I attempt to get some shut eye.
But then Saturday came, and I shivered and pulled the covers up over myself and didn’t even have the heart to wonder, “Who am I even, anymore?” I was sick. Like, serious sick. Like, I have a fever and if you attempt to make me move off this couch, I will slump across the floor like the formless slug that I am, sick.
What came next was an 18-hour-long battle with whatever ailment I’d contracted. During which, I had a moment of epiphany (also called fever delirium): when I’m sick, I crave Coke cola products as if it’s a physical dependency, and I have no idea why.
Thing is, I don’t much even drink soft drinks anymore. I mean, sure, back in the day when I was younger and invincible, I pounded 20-ounces bottles of what-have-you with all the vigor that a twenty-something does anything. Meaning, either thirty-three thousandty% or not at all. Drinking Diet Mt. Dew was definitely on my thirty-three thousandty% list.
But I mostly cut off my cola consumption a few years ago when I realized that I effectively sucking down a troughful of chemicals that would make any kid with a Dr. Jeckyl At Home Chemistry Set giggle in delight and begin planning a solution intended to either turn his sister’s hair green or transform “someone” (*cough*I think we know who*cough*) into Mr. Hyde.
One might even argue that pumping yourself full of those same chemicals when your body is already busy trying to kick your uninvited microbial guests to the curb makes about as much sense as filling your swimming pool with fill dirt for those long, summer days.
For me, then, this is probably a psychological response more than anything else, considering when I was a younger kid, sick times were pretty much the only times we’d get to have an occasional coke. Otherwise we were largely Kool-Aid kids. Ohhhhhh Yeeeeeah.
Whatever the reason is, though, I spent this past weekend knocking back Diet Coke and snarling at passers-by with a 2-liter bottle clutched in both hands as if I rabid raccoon with a half-eaten hot dog bun. And I feel absolutely 0 zero shame about it.
Was it good for me? Probably not. But today I feel as right as the rain (which never made much sense to me as an expression, but what do I know about words, anyway?). The point is that I feel better now.
I enjoyed a bunch of Coke with a smile, the plague up and left me, and now I’m ready to get on with my life.
Which brings me to today’s Big Question:
What makes you feel better when you’ve got the plague for no rational reason whatsoever?
*I mean, no, it really couldn’t have. But then, where’s the fun in that?
**Hey, it gets cold in Buffalo. I’m sure they have to keep warm somehow.