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The Column

Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
12/1/02

Every time I start coming down with something, I say, “what a lousy time to get sick.” As if there’s ever a point where I’m sitting around bored and say, “you know what I could really go for right now? Phlegm!”

I realized I was getting sick Wednesday evening, when my head felt heavier than normal. You know the feeling – when you turn your head and keep going in that direction regardless of whether or not you want to. It was my friend’s birthday, so I figured I’d take a quick nap, go out and see him, and then come home and rest some more. One thing being sick does is make you delirious enough to believe that you are capable of a quick nap.

Three hours later, I woke up, head throbbing, shivering and sweating at the same time, and desperately trying to find an orifice out of which I could breathe. And while I realized that I was going to miss Thanksgiving, I understood that this was one of the better times to get sick. I had four solid days of nothing to do, I had my dad around to get me jello and other such attempts at solid food, and I had movie marathons on TBS. As times when I could get sick went, this one wasn’t so bad.

“Okay,” I figured. “I’ll go to sleep now. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will have been one of those 24 hour flus.”

Have you ever had a 24-hour flu? I’ve had the flu over a dozen times, and every last one of them has lasted upwards of four days. The 24-hour flu was invented when a doctor and his golfing buddy were on their way home from playing a few rounds and the golfing buddy realized he’d need an excuse when he showed up at work the next day.

“I’ve got to call in sick. But no disease in the world only lasts 24 hours! What if I told them I had the flu?”

“But the flu lasts upwards of four days.”

“The 24-hour flu.”

“That’s preposterous,” the doctor said.

“Would it be preposterous for $20?”

And the myth was born.

If I had the 24-hour flu, I would have slept right through it, because I went to sleep at about 2:00 AM Wednesday night, and didn’t wake up until 8:00 AM Friday morning. Yes, I slept clear through Thanksgiving; as far as I know, Thursday never happened. I was very thankful to be asleep, however, because if Friday morning was any indication of how I would have felt Thursday night, it was best being unconscious. I got up, had some water, checked my e-mail, and went back to sleep.

I am aware of my personal bests when it comes to most things. I know the most push-ups I’ve ever done in a row, the most pieces of pizza I’ve ever had in one sitting, and I know that my previous record for consecutive sleep was 19 hours, something of which I had been quite proud. While I’m in no state to have a bite of pizza or do a single pushup, as I write this Saturday evening, I have slept through roughly 60 of the previous 72 hours. And while there might be an asterisk in the record book due to my ingesting 35 pounds of Theraflu, it’s safe to say I have that one locked up for a while.

When I have been awake, I’ve been absolutely delirious. That first time I checked my e-mail when I woke up Friday morning? I replied to one message simply with “yes.” I must have been trying to answer things quickly, except the original message never asked me a question. The original message was “I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.” To which I replied, “Yes.”

I don’t remember much of what I’ve been thinking while I’ve been awake, other than going over the lyrics to “Hurricane” several dozen times. I do not know the lyrics to Hurricane.

The way I’ve been telling if it’s AM or PM is that my alarm clock has a little dot that comes on when it’s AM. But there’s a second little dot that comes on when the alarm is set. I accidentally turned my alarm on and spent several minutes rationalizing why it would be light out at 9:00 PM. Until my dad came in and noticed the alarm was set, I had myself convinced that it was because of the holiday weekend.

Unfortunately, the lunar calendar falls incredibly early this year, making Hanukah the second holiday I might sleep right through. Friday night, I realized that Hanukah was fast approaching, and I asked my father when the first night was.

“Tonight,” he said.”

“Okay.” I responded. “When is tonight?”

Maybe I’ll just take a quick nap.

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