Category Archives: Illness

Sheep, Velociraptors, and Home Remedies That Don’t Work

Everyone’s been there. You’re sick, or you can’t sleep, or there is some other minor inconvenience going on with your body and somebody always comes up and tells you some weird little practice that’s supposed to help you overcome whatever ails you. They usually say something like, “Trust me, my [uncle, mother, grandmother, etc.] taught me this when I was a kid, and it totally works.” No, it doesn’t. You think it works because they told you when you were a kid, and you got all giddy and ran into the other room to try it, and in the course of doing so, stopped bitching to them about having the hiccups for a couple of minutes. It’s just a defense mechanism for adults to get you to leave them alone, just like pretending that they don’t have a life and are just really boring people that only sit around and watch the news and made for TV Hallmark Channel movies. It may have taken me a long time to realize all of this, but here are a few of my own personal experiences with home remedies that are complete bullshit.

Let’s say you’ve got the hiccups. Everyone hates the hiccups. It’s the worst feeling in the world because you can’t control when it happens, or how severe it is. It’s a ten minute period of your life filled with nothing but complete and utter hopelessness and shame. And it seems that every time anyone gets them will invariably find God and bargain with Him just to make them stop before you see that girl you kind of like. But then they don’t and you get that horrific notion that, hey, maybe this is it. Maybe this is the time that I get the hiccups and they never go away and I’m known as the hiccup guy and everyone will start to get annoyed with me and never hang out with me again so you start to hyperventilate and make the hiccups even worse, and you’ll never be loved again because of these stupid little fucking hiccups. Or maybe only I think that. But regardless, before you go into a complete mental breakdown, some motherfucker comes up and tells you this great little trick for getting rid of them, and all you have to do is breathe in for ten seconds, hold the breath for ten seconds, and then exhale for ten seconds. Does it work? No. Of course not. But you still try it because you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of them.

So you start off by breathing in. One…Two….Three…Fo-hiccup. Fuck. Start over. One…Two…Three…Four…Fi-hiccup. You tell your friend that you want to give up, but he tells you to keep going. Soon enough you’ll reach ten. But that’s when the horror starts. The first time that I tried it and reached ten, I immediately hiccupped and regretted every decision I had ever made that allowed me to be in the exact circumstances that I was in at that moment. When you breathe in for ten seconds and then hiccup, it’s like an air overload in your lungs, and you feel like they’re going to burst. It’s a worse feeling than when you have a sneezing fit and try to hold all of them in. It’s a worse feeling than when you’re closing the bar and someone convinces you to take just one more shot of Jaeger. It’s a worse feeling than tasting even a drop of Rumpleminze. But I digress. Eventually, you’ll make it all the way to the end of the breathing exercise, and you’ll feel mildly accomplished. Ten minutes of trying and failing to do a thirty-second home remedy and you finally reached then end. And just when you’re about to look at your friend and tell him, “Hey man, thanks a lot, that really worked,” you hiccup again and figure it’s probably just best to go back to bargaining with God.

Not dissimilar from the hiccups, the common cold is something that everyone has to deal with every once in a while. It’s miserable, it’s inevitable, it’s incurable. Everything about it sucks, especially after you learn that the cold virus is completely harmless, but your immune system thinks that it’s some swine flu type shit and goes into overdrive and gives you stuffy noses, coughs, sore throats, fatigue, and the rest of the nine yards. And since it’s incurable, the only thing you can really do is treat the symptoms of the cold (i.e. the sore throat, cough, etc.). Everyone has their own way of going about it. Some people call into work and sleep that sonofabitch off. Me? I load up on every over-the-counter cold medication that I can find and just get stupid stoned off that shit for a week (But be careful to never fall asleep with a  cough drop in, because that shit’ll stick to your beard and never let go). And then by the time that you decide that you’ve got in under control enough to get back to your life and go out in public, people will still notice that you’ve got a cold, and give you their best tried-and-true remedies for how to cope. Out of the seemingly millions of ways to treat the cold, the one that always comes up is always the one remedy that I’ve got an issue with: drink a lot of tea.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’ve got nothing against tea per se. But it just doesn’t seem to be an advantageous fluid to be pushing when your nasal passages are so blocked that you won’t even be able to taste it. “But it clears up your nasal passages because it’s a warm, soothing beverage!” Yes, but I go hard. And when I go hard (which is all the time), I tend to overdo things. So instead of drinking a cup of tea here and there, I’ll drink 10 cups of tea in a two hour span. Is it smart? Probably not, as you will see. But it’s clearly the most logical thing when you’re flying through your day filled to the brim with Dayquil and cough drops. And when you drink a shit ton of tea in a short time span, you need to pee a shit ton in a short time span. And when you’re pumped full of cold medicine, you’re fatigued and your balance is usually not at it’s best, so you sit down to pee even though you’re a dude. And since you’ve just drank a ton of hot, soothing liquid, you’ve just gotten a bunch of steam in your face and nasal passages so all of the mucus starts to run. Sure, the tea did it’s thing, you could say, but it doesn’t change the fact that you end up pissing sitting down with a pint of phlegm streaming from your nostrils, and then, just to top it off, your body sees everything that is going on with you and decides that this is a perfect time for you to randomly start crying for no fucking reason (or perhaps for a really good one, given your condition). Is tea a simple, responsible, and healthy way to soothe your cold symptoms? Maybe. But is it worth your dignity?

Finally, everyone occasionally has trouble falling asleep. And what’s the one thing that, for some reason, people tell you to do? Count sheep jumping over a fence. It makes sense. Think about something so boring that you have no choice but to fall asleep. A dark field, stars glistening in the background, and a short, wooden fence stretching as far as the eye can see. All of a sudden, a seemingly endless supply of sheep form a single-file line (which is bullshit, because sheep don’t travel in single file lines, but rather amorphous herds. Besides, anybody who has seen Jurassic Park 2 knows that the single file line is the simplest way for predators like the velociraptor to pick you off one by one starting at the rear and working their way toward the front so it by the time the whole group realizes what is going on, four or five of their loved ones are dead as shit. Sure, sheep probably haven’t figured out how to work a DVD player, nor do they necessarily have the cognitive ability to learn lessons from second-tier cinema, but they’ve survived long enough to probably have learned a few things by experience, like the benefit of traveling in the aforementioned amorphous herd). They slowly, but surely, jump gracefully over the fence and trot off to the other side of the field. I’m not sure why they’re traveling at night (again, they should know that when you’re universal prey, you don’t travel at night) or where the fuck they are actually going, but it’s the stereotypical image associated with the practice of counting sheep jumping over a fence. And then, after however many sheep it takes, you’re supposed to drift into a splendid slumber. The only problem is that it simply does not work out that way. At least not for me.

My experience starts like everybody else’s: I’m tired, it’s 4:30 AM, and I’m laying there vainly trying every different combination of pillow, blanket, side, and position for the secret formula that will make me sleep. Then I remember the sheep thing. So, I find a comfortable position, close my eyes, and set the scene for myself. The field. The starry night. The fence. The group of sheep doing everything wrong by traveling in a single file line at night. The first one comes up to the fence and gracefully launches itself, floats slowly over the fence, lands softly on the other side, and then quickly goes on his way without even waiting for any of his fucking friends to catch up. And as he trots out of my vision, an illuminated number one appears in the sky for a moment before the second sheep comes to the fence. This happens the same way for the second, third, and fourth one. But by the time the fifth one is coming up to the fence, I get bored, and completely subconsciously make weird shit start to happen. The fifth one has a little bit of a limp in one of his legs, so he can’t run as fast or jump as high as the other ones. When he’s passing over the fence, his hoof knocks one of the fence posts, and he takes a tumble as he lands. He’s not hurt by the tumble, but he turns back to look at the fence post in disgust. The next sheep is even more hurt. He has a significant limp in his leg, and can’t jump, but fuck it, his friends are going to leave him if he doesn’t hurry up, so he climbs the fence (it’s a short fence), and follows his brethren into the darkness. The next sheep has another horrible leg injury, and needs help getting over the fence. Luckily for him, the sheep immediately behind him is of full health and gives him a boost before doing a standing jump over the fence (no two sheep are created with the same athletic ability). I go back to a couple of regular sheep, but then something weird happens. The next sheep is almost completely shaven, except for it’s head, tail and legs. Like a big, ugly poodle, except not attached by a leash to a far more pathetic looking human being. It’s alone, tired, shivering from the cold because some suburban mom really wants comfy socks to wear around he house. It jumps over the fence, and collapses upon reaching the other side from sheer exhaustion. Luckily, it has enough strength to crawl out of my vision before I start to feel too bad about it.

Then there’s the stoned sheep. It walks up and stares at the fence for a while, turns back, walks a couple feet, then remembers that it has to get over to the other side, and slowly climbs up the fence and then back down the other side. When he reaches the other side, again, he stares at the fence for a minute, and then turns to follow his friends. Then the drunk lonely sheep. Walking crookedly, disheveled, and looking way too much like myself, it stumbles up to the fence, but doesn’t see it. It trips over his own hooves and does a faceplant at the base of the fence. He gets up, let’s out what I assume is the sheep-talk equivalent of, “Fucking shit-fence,” jumps over it, and continues on his lonely way. Then, probably the lowest point in the night for me happens. I just saw the lonely drunk sheep pass over the fence, but it was quickly followed by the drunk horny couple. They stumble up together, the guy sheep bumping up against he as they walk, the girl sheep trying to lay her head on his shoulder. They get to the fence and they look at each other and say, “Well, shit, it looks like we need to get over the fence.” The male sheep, like any gentleman, insists that the woman go first, and gets behind her with the intention of being a support for her to step on to get over the fence. Maybe it was the starlit night, maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the sight of freshly preened wool on her behind, but as the female sheep has her front hooves on the fence to try and pull herself up, he takes the opportunity he has been looking forward to all night. He slowly climbs her body, stomach and chest sliding up her curly-q-esque back wool, and places his hooves on hers, a move he himself was never necessarily comfortable with, but he still did it for her, as he remembered she enjoyed being with a dominant, controlling man.

At this point only about ten minutes has passed, and I’m still not asleep. I’m not sure if I want to be asleep, or if I just want to start my day and pretend like nothing ever happened. All I know is that that night was the end of my innocence. Why couldn’t they just jump over the fence like normal sheep? Why did I have to watch that? Why did they all have to behave like humans? Where were the velociraptors when you needed them? All I have now is questions and a mental image of grotesque sheep fucking. Nothing makes sense. Nothing’s fair. The only answer I have is that counting sheep to fall asleep does not work.

-Panda

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Tonsillitis and The Old People Section of Walgreens

So about a month or two ago I ended up coming down with tonsillitis, and let me tell you, that’s one deceptively shitty illness to have. Not deceptively shitty in the sense that I never thought that tonsillitis was that big of a deal, but more because when you first get it, you think, “Oh, I’m just battling a little cold, I’ll get over it,” and the next thing you know you’re pulled over on the side of the road vomiting phlegm through your car window. But that’s not where the shittiness ended.

Nor is it where the shittiness began. It ultimately started on a Tuesday. I started to cough a good bit and get a mild sore throat. So I did what anyone would do: get jacked up on Cepacol and go through my day like the goddamn man I enjoy pretending to be. I suppose a good idea would also have been to cut back on smoking cigarettes, but addiction doesn’t give a fuck about sore throats, so I didn’t even bother. I go to work and, go figure, I feel like crap by the time I get out, so I decide to grab a couple of drinks to numb the soreness, and then just fall into a sweet, smooth, Irish whiskey sleep. Unfortunately, luck somehow wasn’t on my side that night (or week), as I ended up waking up about three or four times throughout the night. One time is fine, I suppose. You can refill your water, double check your alarm, crank one out if you need to, take some more melatonin, and pee. Twice? You can’t take melatonin again because you’ll risk sleeping through your alarm and straight into the next night. You could crank it again, but only if it’s been a good while since the first time you woke up and you have really soft and smooth hands.  Otherwise, pee again. It’s probably because of that second glass of water anyway. Three or more times, though, is completely fucking absurd.

The next day (when I finally wake up for good), I feel even worse than I did the day before. At that point, my throat starts to hurt more, and I can’t even swallow without it feeling like I’m trying to swallow a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch with not milk. I go about my day like I did before, getting hopped up on lozenges and NSAIDs. I go to work, and I continue to feel like generic shit. So I decide maybe I should try to drink myself to sleep again. That’s a good idea, right? Nope. As I’m driving from work to the bar, that’s when the phlegm vomiting on the side of the road incident happens, and I think to myself, “Maybe I’ll just go home and go to bed.”

And that’s exactly what I did. I went to bed. I didn’t go to sleep, I just went to my bed. My throat had gotten so swollen that whenever I started to drift away, I started to not breathe, which isn’t really something that works out in the long run. So at around 7:30 AM, I decided that I should just give up on the sleeping thing, get jacked on stimulants, and go about my day. Fortunately, I ended up not having a horrible day, aside from the increasingly painful swallowing, sore throat, coughing, and symptomatic feelings of an oncoming death. I go to work, half-ass most of it, go back home, and try to go to bed again. And like the night before, I don’t sleep. I start to think that maybe I should see a doctor at this point.

So there I was, Friday morning, dragging my ass to the urgent care, barely awake (read: spending all of my energy trying to remember how to breathe), and just wanting nothing more than to get some high end prescriptions to make me a glazed over zombie for a couple of days. And let me tell you something, sitting in the waiting room of an urgent care with half a dozen sick babies and their mothers is a miserable experience. So miserable that even having my name called didn’t help, because it made all the mothers look at me with disgust and anger that I was getting to see the doctor before their little bundles of snot and joy could get their colds taken care of. Whatever. I contribute. I buy American. I’m a non-exempt, full-time employee for a local business. Plus I was checked in first. Sucks to suck, crybabies.

So I go about the normal doctor stuff, and the doctor tells me that I’ve got pustular tonsillitis. When I hear this, I immediately think one thing: How long until this doctor makes an underhand dick-sucking joke? Hell, if I were a doctor, I’d make it a prerogative to tell at least one subtle, backhanded dick-sucking joke per patient. Maybe even one blatant one per week. Then he started describing what pustular tonsillitis actually was. Basically, my tonsils became enlarged and swollen, and were very sensitive to anything touching it, and secreted a whitish puss in the back of my throat, with which I could only do two things: spit or swallow. I couldn’t even ask him any questions because I was just trying not to laugh. I end up walking out of there with a shit-eating grin on my face, partly because I’m still thinking about all the jokes, but mostly because I’m pretty sure that the receptionist had just completely forgotten to charge me the co-pay for my visit (I didn’t pay then, and I still haven’t gotten a bill (Thanks Obama)).

And this is when the tonsillitis actually starts to become entertaining. I drag my ass out of the urgent care, hop in the damn Impala, and pull up to Walgreens to pick up my prescription. Now, as many of you know, the pharmacy counter in most Walgreens is located in the back of the store. The part of Walgreens that houses the uncharted areas of old people shit and drug test kits. And sweet Jesus is exploring that area of Walgreens the most hilarious experience when you’re stumbling around having not slept in about 60 hours. If the two packs of cigarettes, four pints of Diet Coke, and a half bottle of Dayquil surging through your veins don’t make your eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of your fucking skull, perhaps the fact that you can play doctor and test yourself for Hep C for the low, bargain price of $34.99 will lend a helping hand. Or maybe the fact that paternity tests are only $40 (Which is really kind of false advertising, because if you read the back of the package (which, of course, I did), you would know that there’s a hidden $120 lab fee in order to get the test results back. And if you’re going to Walgreens to discover who your baby daddy is, then you really can’t afford that extra $120. That’s six 30-racks of Bud Light, which is exactly what people who get paternity tests at Walgreens drink for breakfast. (Bud Light: The Breakfast of NASCAR Champions)).

And that’s not even taking into account the bathroom supplies for old people that are for sale there. Hell, you can buy handrails for damn near every surface of your bathroom. Toilet handrails? Check. Bathtub Handrails? Check. Plastic chairs so you can sit down in the shower instead of standing? Check. Shit, they’ve even got these two-and-a-half foot plastic extenders so you can wipe your own ass more easily. Imagine all the calories I’ve been wasting actually reaching around? Plus, it cuts down on the risk of having your fingers break through the toilet paper, so you can use less. Hell, I could get that thing, save a few calories here and there, have enough energy to go to the gym so I could become healthy enough that I’m not sitting in the back of Walgreens trying to count the amount of calories it takes to wipe your own ass. And I’m not trying to knock old people for being old and having bodies that have become so naturally-deteriorated to the point where they need to resort to this kind of product, but keep in mind the volatile concoction of legal narcotics that I chose to ingest instead of going to the doctor earlier. Plus that ass brush has an extendable head, so I’m more of the mind that it’s really more of a luxury than a necessity.

But I digress. I take my antibiotics, wash it down with a Mountain Dew and a foot-long Spicy Italian, and lay down to watch some Doomsday Preppers, because why the fuck not? (Also, why am I not doing any of that shit? Have you heard about Gaza lately? And has everybody forgot about the Mayans? What about Superstorm Sandy? It’s only a matter of time before we’re all fucked, so why not make sure that when the nuclear winter ends, I’m the one walking around and rebuilding society, slendered down by a steady diet of creamed corn and protein shakes.) I rest, I regain some energy, take a couple hours off from smoking, and let those antibiotics kick in. In fact, I’ve got so much energy that I decide it’s a great time to go grocery shopping. And, dear Panda aficionados, that decision is very important, because going grocery shopping at that exact moment was the landmark one-millionth mistake in my life.

Grocery shopping is always chaotic for me (mostly because I’m really against making grocery lists (mostly because I’m horrible at impulse control (mostly because I really enjoy eating the type of food that will make me so obese that I’ll need one of those extendable ass-wiping brushes by the time I turn 40))). But this was a different chaos. This was the kind of chaos that was caused by the fact that I was starting to lose some of my finer motor skills and couldn’t really read anything anymore, and just kind of had to guess which brand was which by color scheme and the quality of cardboard that it was packed in. And upon realizing this, I decided it would be a good idea to get out of there as soon as possible, so the most logical thing was to speed-shop (walk as fast as possible through the store and not really think of what I was grabbing, and just making sure that the quantity was enough to get me through the next two weeks). Actually, I’m not really sure if that last thing about speed shopping was true, because I don’t remember it. Or most of the grocery store, for the matter. I only remember showing up at the grocery store, not being able to read, and wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. But it seems like the only logical thing that I could come up the next day when I took stock of what the fuck I actually bought.

I had only gotten about four hours of sleep that night, but it seemed like eternity when I saw that the clock read seven AM and I peeled my face off of the pool of drool that had formed. I was so excited for the sleep I had gotten that I had forgot that about half of that drool was actually the pustular excrement from my now slightly less engorged tonsils. So I showered, got my laundry ready to take to the laundry shop, and decided to make some breakfast. In my pantry, I found a twelve-pack of canned Sunny-D, which was in-and-of-itself a pretty stellar find in hindsight, but it couldn’t make up for the despicable conglomerate of processed shit that awaited me in the freezer. Stouffers Mac N’ Cheese (which actually made me borderline nostalgically happy, as it reminded me of the good ole college days when I got stoned and made my own Mac N’ Cheese pizzas with my roommates), Banquet chicken finger dinners (that shit came with a chocolate fudge brownie), Banquet riblet dinners (I threw that one away without even trying it), and the piece de resistance, a Johnsonville ring bologna. I remember eating ring bologna as a kid and thinking that it was the greatest thing in existence, like it was a six-year-old’s equivalent of eating a five-course fine dining meal when in reality it’s just a poor people’s family-sized shitty hot dog. And it made me realize that my family was really poor when I was a kid, because I remember us splitting one of those fuckers between five of us at a table that was about the same square footage as the “crappy” TV that I’ve got sitting in my parents basement and didn’t want to take with me when I moved out because I’ve already got a better TV and nowhere to put the second one and I don’t want to expend the energy to carry it anywhere.  Plus I’m not about to go out of my way to buy an extra AUX cable if I don’t have to.

But back to reality, and I’m sitting there with a foot-and-a-half of beef scrap molded into a semi-circular sausage that fucking straightened out when I cooked it so it wasn’t even a ring anymore, but more of a shitty arc that’s too greasy for the ketchup to stick to it, so I have to use the knife to scoop the ketchup onto it and use all of my attention to try and hold the fork steady enough so that the processed sugar-tomato sauce doesn’t slide off onto my hoodie, and I suddenly knew what it’s like to be slumming it. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything. I was stoned on antibiotics and weed and I was eating a gigantic low-end hot dog with a can of Sunny-D for breakfast.

So even though the rest of the week and a half that I was on antibiotics wasn’t exactly the most fun or eventful, it was still uphill from that point. I started getting full nights of sleep on the fourth night. I started to get some of my mind back from the brink of insanity. I started to realize that maybe I should have used my illness as an excuse to start quitting smoking instead of just cutting back for three days. But shit, let’s be real, addiction doesn’t care if you’re sick, and I needed all the happy brain chemicals I could get (dopamine, or serotonin, or whatever the fuck it is. I don’t know. I’ve got an English degree, not something of actual intellectual merit). But hey, if lung cancer is anywhere near as miserable as having tonsillitis was, maybe I’ll give quitting a shot at some point (I’m aiming for by the time some poor woman who, for some reason, wants to spend her life with me and give birth to my spawn. You know, so I can be a role model and shit. And have enough money so that I’m not economically forced to feed them ring bologna). Actually, scratch that, “all uphill from that point,” idea, because now I know that extendable ass-wipers exist, and that they are in the same section of Walgreens as the 12-in-1 drugs tests, STI screeners, and paternity tests. It’s like a little piece of West Virginia available to the whole country. I never needed to experience that. Nobody does.

Take it easy,

-Panda


Illness: An exposition on gas stations, lawn care, and cute babysitters

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate being sick.  Not because I sit around and wonder if and when I’m just going to die of this plague-like illness.  Not because I contemplate whether or not I should take a nap instead of a shower.  Not even because I’m forced to come to the realization that I might have to curb my nicotine consumption in order to make a speedy recovery.  No, none of those are the reason I hate being sick.  Rather, it’s because you become an asshole, even if you don’t mean to be.

You see, every time you get sick, everything becomes a hassle.  Everything becomes annoying.  Even the slightest inconvenience becomes the harshest tragedy (I need an appointment for you to tell me to hold down the fucking option button when I restart my computer in order to fix it? (Your boss is dead, start thinking for yourself, you pretentious ass)).

Have you ever driven somewhere when you were sick?  It’s probably the worst possible thing you could do.  God forbid that the lights don’t change just because you are the only one at the intersection. And that son-of-a-bitch at the gas station who took the pump that you normally take (not to mention that he’s facing the wrong way), and all but one of the other pumps there are taken so you have to go to the one right in front of the one you normally use, but it’s on the inside part of the pump stations, and the idiot across the center area between the pumps parked really far away from his pump, and there is a car waiting immediately behind the car that took your pump, so there is absolutely no way in hell that guy can possibly even get out of the gas station until you or the person who parked really far away from the pump gets done, but that lady who parked really far away from the pump has three kids that she needs to make sure don’t pee themselves, or accidentally blow up the gas station, or ask why that huge man washing the windshield of his car has such big lady breasts, and you need cigarettes and you’re sick, so tough shit for that guy.  Maybe he shouldn’t have taken my spot.  And don’t even get me started on those fucking do-gooders who give up their right of way so that I can go in front of them, making me look like the asshole as I end up doing the whole kind-of idle my way up through the intersection, but also slamming on the brakes a couple of times because I can’t figure out if they are going or not because whenever I go, they go type of things.  I don’t think you understand how much Robitussin I’ve taken today, so I’m pretty sure you don’t want me making difficult decisions with a hurtling, two-ton rolling chunk of metal.  Just take your goddamn right of way.

Or have you ever had a conversation with someone while sick?  It’s like every single conversation you have with everyone is the same.  It’s like every time someone talks to a person who is sick they just get dumb.  Take, for example, this excerpt of a conversation I had with my mom when I was sick, as I was laying on the couch, covered in a couple of blankets and a box of tissues within arms reach.  My mom walks in and asks, “How are you feeling?”  To which I reply, “Like shit,” as if my general appearance were not enough for her to realize that I was not quite at 100%.  Almost every question anyone asks you when you’re sick seems completely absurd, and is always met with the same bitterness and ugly rhetoric.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”  “Sure, you can go die in a hole.”  “I’m heading out, are you going to be OK here by yourself?”  “No, of course not, I’m fucking 22 years old and can’t handle a cold without someone holding my hand all the way through.”  “Are you going to do anything today?”  “Besides being worthless and dying alone on this uncomfortable couch covered in cat hair?  No.”

But perhaps the worst thing that anyone can do when you are sick is lawn care.  Not necessarily all lawn care, but the kind my neighbor Chad does (I have no problem with the old ladies with hand-held sheers snipping away at elongated stems and branches of their favorite shrubs).  You see, Chad is the kind of guy who has a tool for every occasion.  He’s also the kind of guy who spares no expense.  He does the normal mowing of his lawn, but he does it with what has got to be this, like, 65 horsepower beast that has no business doing nothing but cutting grass.  And then he trims all the edges of the lawn with some massive gas-powered not-so-much-trimmer-as-it-is-chain-saw.  And of course he can’t just leave all the grass and leaves on his lawn, but he gets out his leaf blower and will not stop until every possible loose remnant of organic material is halfway across the street.  And what for?  So his son Landon can run around on it until his older sister pushes him down and he starts to cry like the little five-year-old boy that he is?  So he can fulfill his earthly duty to do manly things?  No.  It’s so he can say, “Look at my beautiful house and property.  Look at what I’ve gotten for my family.”  Please, Chad.  Look at what you’re doing to me.  You are destroying the few precious hours of consciousness today by revving up your motherfucking lawn toys.  You are single-handedly overcoming 4 Advil to give me a headache.  You are making me regret taking Mucinex because now my nose isn’t fully clogged and I can smell the fresh scent of your gasoline fumes and sweat-covered, doughy body.

But I would gladly put my foot in my mouth if what he was doing was for something greater.  If what he was doing wasn’t going to be all for naught in a week.  Because, you see, all lawn care is like what glass ultimately is:  temporary.  He’s just going to have to break out the mower, the chain-saw-like trimmer, and the leaf blower again in a week.  And on top of that, winter will come around.  All the grass is going to die.  And next spring it will start to grow back and he will do all of this shit all over again.  And I will eventually get sick again and get pissed off at him again.  But maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll get a real job and move out of this shit-hole city I grew up it.  Maybe someone famous will read my blog and realize that I have talents that need to be brought up to the big leagues.  Maybe Chad will bring back that really cute babysitter from this last summer and maybe I’ll just happen to be doing yard work myself when she is outside playing with the kids.  But then again, screw doing yard work.  And screw being sick.

Take it easy and stay healthy,

-Panda