Sunday, March 6, 2011


This is the second blog about being sick I've written today.

The first, over at my own site, is about how illness cripples me mentally and interferes with my thought and writing processes, such as they are.  It's called "Lost on the Neural Pathways," and it's accurate enough, considering that it was written by someone whose IQ has fallen into the double digits.

This one is about the unfocused, all-encompassing malevolence toward the world in general that illness invariably brings out in me.  I'm always scornful of scenes in movies and books in which the sick person floats angelically an inch or two above the mattress and dispenses cheer and wisdom to those who have gathered around.  Nobody gathers around me when I'm sick, and for good reason.

I'm vicious.

On sick days, all of God's creation seems like the worst, most mismatched idea ever whipped up by Ben and Jerry -- Turkey Ripple, say, or Beef Jerky 'n Cream.  Heaven's very light is harsh and metallic, the visual equivalent of a mouth full of nickels.  The miraculous, highly evolved brain I was handed at birth turns into a rusted scouring pad that loosens and presents for detailed examination every physical ache, emotional misfire, intellectual shortcoming, and spiritual cosmic joke it can locate.

Childhood seems to me, on days like these, a needlessly noisy and rambunctious phase on the way to adulthood.  Adulthood seems like a mercilessly prolonged dwindling, a bright promise lengthily broken as our illusions are stripped from us one by one and the laughter of Something ripples through the Cosmos.  Poetry is nonsense read by people who wear berets, and unrhymed poetry is nonsense read by people who wear berets and all-black clothing.  And snap their fingers a lot.

Flowers? Vulgar, over-showy neon advertisements for plant sex.  Sunrise?  An ironic overture to another disappointing twenty-four hours.  L'amour?  Don't even get me started.

Oh, and while I'm on l'amour, what's the deal with French, anyway?  What's with establishing public committees, or whatever they are, to isolate and stamp out degraded French?  What's wrong with Le Drug Store?  Short, to the point.  I'd think that "short and to the point" would be desirable qualities in a language in which spelling seems like a contest to see who can shove the largest number of silent letters into a word and in which all syllables, no matter how they're spelled, are pronounced ong.

None of this is aimed at you, Cara.  In fact, none of it is aimed at anyone.  This is why people don't gather around me when I'm sick.  But I'll feel better tomorrow.  Unless I'm dead.

And all I've got is a mild flu.  Hope I haven't ruined your day.

Tim -- Sundays


  1. Boy, and I thought *I* knew how to wallow... :-)

    But that's okay, Tim. In the six months I've been following your abundant expressions, this is the first time I've known you to wallow. Well, no, wait a minute... let me check your blog index. um... I'd better get back to you on that...

    Get well soon!

  2. Gosh, Tim. I'm so glad you were in the peak of health when you read Death of the Mantis!
    All I can say is, get well soon. Really, really soon!
    (PS Thanks for entertaining us even when you're ill!)

  3. It's 5 in the morning in Chicago. O'Hare to be precise, dodging sneezes from strangers as I wait for my flight into 13 degree Minneapolis. All this while you snuggle sniffling in bed. I've only two words for you Mr. Hallinan: c-h-i-c-k-e-n s-o-u-p.

    Εις υγειαν!!

  4. I am so glad that you clarified that you are suffering from the common cold.

    Having been in her position, I offer my deepest sympathy to Munyin. In defense of my husband, I must say that while he "suffers" through a cold in very much the same manner as you are doing, he dealt with two knee replacements stoically, as long as we didn't run out of coffee ice cream.

    My best wishes to both of you,


  5. You guys aren't afraid of me?

    Wallowing is part of the healing process. Wallowing does two things simultaneously: it gives you a reason not to do anything at all, and it discourages others from asking you to.

    There's probably some wallowing there, Everett. (For those of you who do not know, Everett has compiled an index of all the blogs over at my own site, beginning with the 156 or so I've written as part of my blog-a-day-for-a-year commitment. If I've wallowed, he'll find it.)

    Michael, a good book is a good book. DEATH OF THE MANTIS is a great book and would have cut through pneumonia.

    Ahh, Jeffrey, the 5 AM airport blues. How I loathe them. And thirteen degrees in Minneapolis. Why do we do this to ourselves? (Well, I know why we do on one level - because we owe it to the book -- but still.

    Beth, nobody goes out and gets me coffee ice cream when I'm sick. You've given me a whole new grievance. And the common cold feels very specific when it's MY common cold.

  6. Like how everyone has got a bit caustic the past few days.

    We should rename the blog Humbug is Everywhere.

  7. Tim,
    You've considerably under-played your condition and I admire you for it. There's no such thing as mild flu. Well, no, there is, but taking into account the accident of birth, you can't possibly suffer from it. Yours is Man-Flu, the worst condition known to woman.
    There's no point wishing you speedy recovery; you'd never forgive me. So, enjoy it while it lasts. :-)

  8. Dan -- you started it. I logged on, feeling sorry for myself, and your post reminded me I could rant instead. So I did.

    Mira -- At last. Someone who understands. And you're right - I recovered too quickly as it was. (Although this little headache comes and goes and there are times when . . .)