DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2002-04-14 - 1:26 p.m.

I am sick. I donít get sick. Sometimes I will get depressed and SAY Iím sick so that I can feel justified enough to lay in bed and stare at walls for a couple days, but I rarely get sick for real. Which is a source of constant disappointment for me. Yes, you read that right...I WANT to be sick. But I am very precise about which illness I would like, I donít want this nagging cold crap, I donít want the flu, I want strep throat. I want it so badly I would, and have done, almost anything to get it. For five years I have been trying to get it to no avail. The people I work with have strict instructions about what to do if they should be fortunate enough to get it. They must come to me BEFORE they start taking their anti-biotics at which time I will kiss them, I donít care who it is, I will kiss them. The women I work with desperately try to avoid getting strep throat for fear I will show up at their doors and try to make out with them. The men I work with are going through the garbage at the pediatricians office looking for strep throat contaminated tongue depressors they can lick in hopes that they WILL get strep and that I will show up at their door to make out with them.

There have been two cases of strep throat in people I work with in the past five years. The first one didnít take my request seriously and by the time I got to her she had been on antibiotics for over twenty four hours making the infection too weak to be contagious. The second time someone got strep throat was the day before I was leaving on vacation. She dragged her aching body into the restaurant just as I had instructed before taking her medicine, but I had to tell her with frustrated tears in my eyes that I couldnít get strep throat right then. I did ask if she could place some of her throat spooge in a petri dish and save it for me until I got back. She thought that was going just a little over the top.

I have tried everything to get strep. If I see a kid who looks pale and complains of a sore throat I make sure to come in contact with them. I ask the people at work who have kids in school about the strep throat status, hoping that one day strep throat will rage through the schools like it did in ours. When that day comes I will plant myself firmly in the halls and let all those contaminated children brush by me.

So now I am sure you are wondering WHY I want strep throat so badly. Itís the fever and the pain I experience when I have strep throat. Itís the way that strep throat crashes upon my body instead of slowly sneaking up on me like a cold does. Itís the way I can sleep for a couple days and have delirious dreams. Itís the lonely panic I get when I think I am dying and there is no one to take care of me. Plain and simple, it is the sheer desperation that strep throat elicits that I crave. It is the feeling I get that everything is terrible and at rock bottom. Because after I spend two days in bed only getting out to crawl into the steaming bathtub when the fever makes me feel like a block of ice, after I cry my eyes out, after my back hurts so bad that I think I will never be able to walk again, after I realize that there is no one on earth who will take care of me, after all that comes the good stuff... the fever breaks. Suddenly. To me that moment is the greatest moment a person can ever experience. It is a letting go, a release of all the poison in the blood, a release of pain, a release of desperation. My eyes become suddenly clear and the world looks beautiful to me. And I feel strong, invincible because I survived that illness alone.

So that is why as much as I want to be sick, I am pissed off that I indeed sick now. Because all I have is a cold. I donít have nerve shattering chills, or burning in hell hot flashes, I am not sick enough to be in bed, I am not sick enough to feel lonely. I am just a little under the weather. Enough to be a little limited in my energy reserves, but not enough to give me a refreshed and beautiful view on life when my immune system is back up and running.

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