January 11th, 2020

book cover humor

The Good Parts of Being Sick

Yes, yes, I know--how can we come up with anything good about being invaded by nasty little sickness bugs?

Well, it's like this: Everyone around here is getting sick lately, with some respiratory gunk that's not the flu, but makes you wish you had the flu instead. I've had it for about two weeks, which is over the normal amount of time it should take for something to run its course.

But everyone tells me it takes 6-8 weeks for this particular terrorist bug to run its course, and by that I mean it's running over its victims like an Abrams Tank on the American Heroes Channel.

So I can spend two whole months whining about it, or I can seek out a bright side. Do you want to spend eight weeks around someone who only stopped complaining because their lungs were all coughed up?

I didn't think so.

Even the dog has been feeling a little ... hey, that's my side of the bed!

So, here are the good things about being sick:

It's a good excuse to stay inside. "I'm sorry, I can't go out for the annual Midwestern salute to frostbite and chilblains, because this weather already made me sick."

It gives authors more time to write, assuming they can summon the concentration. Granted, there were a few days earlier this week when I physically couldn't lift my laptop, but for writers an illness is like a bone break: Sometimes you get lucky with a leg cast, and other times you have to beg your spouse for help buttoning your shirt. And don't get me started on bathroom runs.

On the days when you're not up for writing, you can work on that pile of unread books that's threatening to tip over one night and give the newspapers a fun headline opportunity: "Literature Lover Smashed by Steinbeck!" If you're an avid reader, you're likely to have more than one stack around the house, leaning threateningly, like the library scene from "Ghostbusters". I polished off a mystery called "Longshot" by Dick Francis, and now know a little more about the world of horse racing.

If you're too sick even to read, this is your chance to watch a little TV. My oldest daughter gifted me with something called Roku, which is apparently a little magic entertainment box from Hogwarts. My wife was able to do something I can't--figure it out--so we decided to try Disney+, because they have total control of, well, everything. As a result we got to watch a show called The Mandalorian, which was amazingly fun even when viewed through a layer of Kleenex.

The dog--well, ours, anyway--actually shows some concern toward you, past whether you're carrying a plate of food, or if you're keeping up with his bathroom schedule. Or, possibly, he kept checking to see if he'd eventually be forced to eat my corpse.

Little pill shaped sick snacks!

Illness is a great weight loss program, unless you're me. I'm hungry when I'm sick, when I'm well, happy, depressed, or hungry. After losing an amazing five pounds over the holidays, I gained back three during a week on the couch.

But there is one final good thing about being sick: Once word gets around, you don't have to clean the house for visitors. It's a reward for both the introverted and the lazy.