Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Viral Vacations

I have not had a really good cold since I retired from work over three years ago. Then a few days ago I got what I thought might be one -- but it turned out not to be. Now I doubt that I will ever have one again.

By "good" you probably think that I mean "bad" -- that I am using the normally positive adjective as an antagonym (a.k.a. autantonym, contronym, Janus word, or self-antonym) -- similar to the way that the word "bad" is also used to denote its opposite. And I do mean it that way, at least partially. Because the first criterion for a really good cold, is that it has to be really, really bad.

How bad is a good cold?

(1) Bad enough to cause alternating bouts of body-shivering chills and sweat-inducing fevers.

(2) Bad enough to generate nonstop, confusing, wildly irrational, sleep-interrupting dreams that begin as soon as you close your eyes and mitigate only when you reopen them after hours of hallucinated semi-sleep to discover that the clock has inexplicably advanced a mere thirty minutes.

(3) Bad enough to wrap a fog around any thought that stumbles into your mind. A hazy curtain dense enough to prevent that concept from connecting in any logical way at all with any other idea that might haphazardly wander into the neighborhood.

(4) Bad enough -- and here is where the transition of good towards good begins -- to completely eliminate any possible consideration at all of going to work. Or doing any of those things that need to be done around the house.

(5) Bad enough so that all I was capable of doing during my daytime hours was to recoup some of the sleep that I had missed; read some of the unread books and magazines that I was always to exhausted to tackle during my healthy days; and watch movies that I knew (either intuitively or explicitly) Mars would never sit through with me.


A typical day would be:
7:00 a.m. - get up, have breakfast, read the morning paper, and watch "Today"
8:30 a.m. - return to bed to read book
9:00 a.m. - nap
10:00 a.m. - resume book reading
11:00 a.m. - resume nap
12:00 noon - lunch
1:00 p.m. - get video from Blockbuster
1:30 p.m. - nap
2:00 p.m. - begin video
3:30 p.m. - nap
4:00 p.m. - finish video

I actually do not recall any of the book titles that I read during my illness hiatuses (I suppose that its even possible that I reread the same pages over and over). I do however remember the enjoyment of being able to doze off whenever the need arose and awakening later to finish reading the sentence.

Some of the movies that I recollect viewing through fevered-eyes were "Hoosiers", "Raging Bull", "Bagger Vance" and (inexplicably to me now) "The Crying Game" -- flicks that, except for the last one, you would think would play better in an ambiance of beer, cigar smoke, and pizza rather than Kleenex, Motrin, and Halls Mentho-lyptus. I always kept the videos around that night for Mars to watch but strangely she never took me up on any of them.

So finally, along comes my first good cold in over one thousand days and instead of wallowing in the warm embrace of welcoming infirmity I squandered the opportunity by doing the "same old, same old" that I normally do.

It is really hard to enjoy a day off when your normal workweek consists of six Saturdays and a Sunday. And that is actually a good thing.

Gave my cold to Mars --
"in sickness and in health" --
Good pledge, bad present.

Thank you for the code.
It was an obnoxious gift.
I ab not habby.

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