My Tombstone – Shanghai Scores

I’ve been silent lately, but I can explain. If my self-diagnosis is correct, based on my symptoms of all-encompassing miserable-ness, I am just getting over a brief bout of tuberculosis. I could be wrong. I could possibly be mislabeling my sickness so that I can seize this rare opportunity to make it okay when I tell people that I am their Huckleberry. I am also not a doctor, and when I go to WebMD I tend to get distracted by all the really scary things your apparently normal symptoms could indicate. I think WebMD must be very dangerous for hypochondriacs. And enemies of Osmosis Jones.

I had a couple warning salvos of coughs before the onslaught, and I gave them no heed. O!, was it to my ruin. I’m not sick often. As soon as it started getting really bad, my brain let go of sensibility and started running frantically through all sorts of dismal ‘what-if’ scenarios. I wasn’t really worried until it began to erratically list all the different ways that this could be the beginning of my body shutting down for good. There was this volcanic pressure in my skull; I’m pretty sure a few of my thoughts turned into diamonds. My brain decided that being in my apartment 37 stories in the air somehow created a unique and unforeseeable condition that meant it could/was-absolutely-going-to explode (I was unable to confirm this on WebMD). The chills were terrible, perhaps similar to what your average Rebel would feel upon receiving a sarcastic, threatening Christmas card from Darth Vader, promising him a visit soon. The coughing is cyclical during the day, and constant at night, and is my most faithful symptom. Don’t even get me started on the state of my interior plumbing. The worst part to being sick, I am beginning to think, is that it makes me so self-absorbed that I think if I had a conversation with Narcissus I would make even him feel a bit uncomfortable. (On second thought, I think that face means that he wants me to GO AWAY! GET AWAY FROM MY POND! YOUR COUGHING IS MAKING RIPPLES!!!) I hate that the only things on my mind anywhere I go are 1) where is the nearest bathroom, 2) will this round of coughs deflate one or both lungs, 3) does it look/sound like I have the plague?, 4) could I actually have the plague? 5) I do. I have the plague. Repeat thoughts 1-5 in shuffle, and every now and again mix in 6) find bathroom! FIND BATHROOM! In idle moments all mental energy is used in an internal struggle to prevent me from coughing the plague onto whoever I am talking to, or what they are eating, which might be even more awkward-moment inducing. I wouldn’t know where to go in the conversation after that.

The moment I admitted to myself that I was sick was the day I left work early, just as it was starting to get really bad. I got home and collapsed into bed and all went dark. Fast forward a couple of hours, and I was having a feverish dream in which I was carrying on a casual conversation with a friend of mine, and I awoke suddenly and looked directly at the pillow opposite me and said “No way, man!” I was simultaneously bewildered that my conversation partner had instantly become a pillow and just slightly offended that he was not responding to my enthusiastic remark. About three seconds later I decided to admit that I was not just ‘under the weather’, I was stuck beneath it like a lightning rod in a thick, menacing Texas thunderstorm. The following days were a blur. I watched movies (which resemble a bad iTunes shuffle list:  Cop Out, Happythankyoumoreplease, Coming to America, AMC’s the Killing, an old Dracula movie, the new Terminator, and on and on) went outside only when absolutely necessary to eat. I attended an evening work function where I was that ubiquitous flu-season-coughing-guy everyone tries to not-so-subtly avoid at all costs. I would wake up starving in the night; once I tried to appease my stomach with two green-tea Oreos (which, despite the fact that I’ve previously claimed the opposite in an attempt to convince myself I like them, are really not very good at all) and stomach was not impressed, so I filled it with those vitamins that are actually gummy bears. Or gummy bears that are actually vitamins. Whichever they are, those have got to be so dangerous. I must have been near overdose levels on at least half the vitamin alphabet/gummy bear rainbow. After four days of hunkering down, I was bored and starving. I went outside, determined to find safe, non-meltdown causing food. Within fifteen minutes I had failed that mission miserably, and had six skewers of meat and veggies from a street barbecue artist, a cob of corn from a convenience store crock pot, and what I think was a Chinese V8 splash. It tasted like fruit punch that someone accidentally dropped a carrot into, which is what I assume V8 Splash is like.

All this goes to say… Shanghai 1, me 0. I believe it is time for the comeback tour, which means… I am going to need to find my leather pants.


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