Monday, December 29, 2008

"A Dissertation On Colds In One Major Point"

...Have you ever wondered why it is that we seem to get colds every time the winter holidays roll around? I know I do - its like the cold bug has it in for me. The little germs secretly plot out their maneuvers, everything is "perfectly" timed, they strike at the height of my inconvenience scale. Maybe they have a wall lined with digital scales - tracking the inconvenience levels of everybody in the world. I don't know how they do it, but the fact is they do.

...You've probably guessed by now that this train of thoughts could only be dwelt on in this depth by someone with a cold. It's true, I've got a cold. The second or third one since November actually. And since I've got one I decided I might as well get a little use out of him, maybe I'll even hit upon a way to scare him off. Thus the following of what I like to call ""A Dissertation On Colds In One Major Point".

...Colds, as we have already established, have very little concern for the inconvenience of the person they are inconveniencing. In fact they seem to delight in choosing the most inopportune moments for making their appearance. For proof read the following example while comparing it to your own experiences. ~

~ (Sally) has been at home quietly doing nothing for several weeks. Occasionally she goes to the grocery store, the local park, and church on Sundays. Nothing pressing is on her agenda, in fact life is at one of its rare lulls.

~If ever there was such a thing as a "good" time to get sick - this was it. But nothing happens. The germs on grocery carts and and park swings refuse to stick to her, instead they menacingly wait.

~Then Sally slips on ice while coming in her front door. A quick trip to the Doc reveals that she has a sprained ankle. Now Sally is on pain medication and has to lie abed with her foot above her head. She also has a pressing speech to prepare for, homework to catch up on, and to top it off- her plumbing gets backed up. Everything just happened to converge simultaneously in an unforeseeable chain of events. Knowing the famous reputation colds have, combined with numerous trips to the less than sterile doctors office, we are all holding our breath waiting for Sally to get a cold. She doesn't.

~"Whats the problem?" we wonder. Now would be the "perfect" time for a runny nose and low grade fever to attack poor Sally. (Sarcasm implied) Sally is probably wondering the same thing herself, I know I would be.

~But the cold germs have a secret, inside, intuition about these things. They are sitting around watching Sally's inconvenience scale get higher and higher. One of them stretches lazily and begins to pull on his boots, but he is definitely taking his time.

~Sally is recovering from her sprained ankle. She is now able to get out of bed and hobble around on a pair of hospital issued crutches. Her attempts to fix meals, walk the dog, and get dressed in the morning are rather feeble at best. (Forget trying to take a shower) Mondays have always been Sally's most hectic day, and today happens to be one. It also happens to be the day she is giving her speech on "health and the human body" in which she emphasizes some new theories she has about the immune system.

~Its eight o'clock and her speech is at twelve. She attempts to give herself a sponge bath and find a missing shoe. After looking on top of beds, tables and over the large exposed areas of floor; Sally determined that the shoe must be under something. "Great where will I look first?" She hopped over to the table and crouched down to peer underneath. No shoe.

~Just then the doorbell rang. Sally grabbed the bottom rungs of her crutches and and attempted to pull herself up the ladder-like sides while shouting "Hang on just a minute!"

~Back on her feet again Sally makes it to the front door without falling over the dog more than once. Outside she finds her Aunts Olga, Beebe, and Marge. Wow, surprise relatives from out of state on the day of your big speech - and your house loos like it hasn't been cleaned for weeks. (Actually it hasn't) Sally shows them in apologizing for the mess, telling the dog to be quiet, and explaining too late about the sprained ankle. Too late because heavy weight hug champion Aunt Marge has already bowled her over in an attempt to keep the title; then Aunt Beebe dropped a suitcase on her injured foot while trying not to be undone; and Aunt Olga accidentally stepped on a discarded crutch. Sally discovers that the crutch is broken and the Aunts help her back into the house.

~It's already eleven o'clock and Sally begins to have moments of dismay. Her speech fled from memory with the arrival of the Aunts, and, to make matters worse, she still has not found her shoe. The Aunts disperse with their luggage to all corners of the house and Sally resumes her search. After covering every chair, couch, and ottoman in the living room, she makes her way to the bedroom. Its covered with Aunt Beebe's stuff and Sally has to take a roundabout route to reach her bed. Just as she's bending over to feel under the edge Aunt Beebe screams from the bathroom "O my gosh, the toilets overflowing!"

~Sally sees a shoe and wildly grabs it; the plumber must not have fixed the toilet problem. Mumbling darkly under her breath Sally tries to shove the shoe on her hurt foot while hopping with one crutch towards the bathroom. (Not noticing that the shoe is not the match to the one she's wearing) Yep, the toilets overflowing; in fact, its past overflowing and has now overflowed all over the carpeted bathroom floor.

~"Where's your plunger at?" Aunt Beebe shouts from her refuge in the bathtub. Sally groans and tiptoes across the floor to the bathroom cupboard. After five minutes of semi frantic activity; during which three bottles of shampoo, two of conditioner, a bag of toothbrush accessories, three million cotton balls, and a lousy batch of hair clips, are taken out one by one and rearranged in every possible combination; Sally determined the toilet plunger is not in the cupboard.

~Right at this identical moment, this engulfing second of utter despair and neck burn, the cold attacks. Its not logical, its not realistic, and its totally bizarre. But its so. Standing on one foot in a three inch puddle of sewage - watching cotton balls and old perfume bottles play marco polo - with three out of state Aunts screaming in her ears - and a pressing appointment with hundreds of people in forty five minutes- the cold arrived. How did it get the timing so perfectly? How did the germs know that five minutes sooner would have found Sally safely in her bedroom with a box of tissues on hand? Or even five minutes later?

~Frantically Sally fought the itch in her nose while reaching for toilet paper, only to discover that the roll was empty. Sneeze after sneeze rolled off the bathroom walls causing little pieces of popcorn texture to fall off the walls. Meanwhile the toilet continued to overflow.

~"Would someone get me a tissue!" Sally yodeled above the mayhem.

~Come on Aunt Marge, Aunt Olga!..

~Sure enough Aunt Olga came running to the bathroom, tissue box in hand.

~Eventually the plumber arrived to rescue Aunt Beebe from the tub. But by that time Sally had hopped to her car, discovered she had locked the keys in the car yesterday, gone back in and found the spare set, then drove away very late.

~We can imagine the triumph each infinitesimally small cold germ felt when Sally arrived for her unfortunate speech. Bedraggled and wet around the socks, wearing two different shoes, limping on a single crutch, hair greasy; but what is worse - carrying a soggy tissue box in one hand and wringing a brilliant red nose. Where did our composed, calm, Sally of two weeks ago go? She disappeared with the last straw of unbelievably coincidental bad luck, the appearance of a cold.

~Sally climbed the stand and faced her audience. Awkward silence.

~"Health and the Human Body" she began. Suddenly a violent sneeze blew away the top two pages of her notes and she looked around helplessly. She tried to bend over to pick them up without spraining her other ankle and noticed the mismatched shoes.

~Ironic isn't it?


Savannah said...

Very Funny Lauren!!I got more then a few kicks out of that one:)

Robert L. said...

Most fitting as I just had to miss a camping trip do to a cold.

Robert L.

Anonymous said...

I found it funny (hilarious) although I have a cold at the moment myself. It is funny (peculiar!) how colds always pick holidays, especially when if they hit you term time, you could get time off school ill. No, they must hit when you are busy, have lots of relatives to visit or coming to see you, or just when you are looking forward to enjoy yourself!


jill said...

Lauren, I want you to meet my good friend Emily who lives up there near you. I think you two would have a lot in common. E-mail me at and we can talk more about it. :)

jill said...

did you hear back from Emily?

Anonymous said...


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