I know you wouldn’t think it to know me, but I am a wuss when it comes to being sick. And it’s weird, right? Because usually, I’m tough as nails. Nothing phases me. I’m a stoic. Through and through. Straight-faced. Deadpan. Dry witted.
Ok, that’s not true. I take many a cake for grousing. (And while I’m not going to explore the origin of that expression, but what kind of birds do complain? Do grouses grouse? Or does their call just sound whiny? They didn’t have any, that I noticed, at the zoo, so I can’t say for sure.)
But, yeah, I’ve got me a little cold. And I’m milking it for all its worth. This is a trait I learned from my father, believe it or not. He may have been a Ranger, but when he got a bug, everyone was walking on eggshells not to bug him. So that’s yet another way I take after him. And it’s good for me in developing my whole curmudgeonly persona, I think, to complain about the miseries of my viral infections.
So I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. I want to stay home, under the covers, and whine. I might even think about calling my mother and whining at her for not being here to bring me chicken soup. Because if you’re going to be sick, you might as well take some pleasure in it, and make the woman who brought you into the world feel sorry for not making it a perfectly wonderful and disease-free place, right? I don’t know. I need to go to work. But I feel like crap. Chills. Congestion. Light-headed. Generally in a bad mood. Tired. Sore. Somebody just put me out of my misery.
Except, I know that in the grand scheme of things, I’m fine. I’ll recover. Probably in a day or two because I’ve been zincing myself to high heaven. But still. I get sick so rarely that when I do, I want to do it with verve. Panache. Some kind of bang at least. So I complain a lot. Because that is just so out of character for me. Sigh. Maybe I’m just jealous of Cliff and his detached retina. Or maybe I’m just a wuss. I keep asking myself how I’d survive on a boat for a week or more in Alaska if I’m whining about a head cold, but on the other hand, maybe I whine because I’ve not suffered enough in other ways. So does that mean I’m trying to toughen myself up, become a stronger and better person by going fishing next summer? Or am I just kidding myself? I guess that remains to be seen.
I’ve been reading this book about fishing on a scallop boat, one my father recommended after I first mentioned my hare-brained scheme, and I think his plan backfired. I’m more jazzed about the whole idea than ever, even despite the dislodged teeth and stiches and severed limbs described in the book. So I’m thinking that, assuming you’ll all still love me as much as ever with a prosthetic arm and caps on my teeth, that at least I’ll be better off a year from now when I get my next cold and say “This is nothing compared to being 50 miles offshore with a half ton of salmon that I need to pack in ice even as I’m bleeding profusely.”
You all can only hope.