Friday, June 20, 2008

Miracles of Modern Medicine!!

OK, so I was really sick last weekend. I think I was really sick because my body is so in tune with the universe that it can predict when I actually have interesting things going on, and swoops in to make sure I still know who's boss with the metaphysical equivalent of a bitch-slap. Anyway, even after an intense weekend of sleeping, eating saltines, and plotting revenge on my immune system, I wake up still feeling like crap on Monday. This is problematic because a) I actually really have to go to work and b) Explosions in the Sky is playing in the evening. Being that I have been unable to stay awake for longer than four hours at a time over the weekend, it occurs to me that endurance is going to be a potential problem. Also, being that I can't go ten seconds without blowing my nose or coughing, it simultaneously occurs to me that being closely packed into a warm damp crowd of other people is going to be a potential problem.

My first few snotty, sleepy hours of work only underscore these concerns, and even add the inspired flourish of a headache for good measure. After hacking through my pressing responsibilities at work in a bitter daze, I finally manage to peel myself away an hour early to rush home to feed my depraved sleep addiction. My trip home is like when a cartoon character falls in love and their eyes become throbbing hearts, except that instead of hearts my eyes are little throbbing beds, and instead of being in love I just really want to sleep. So actually, it's nothing like when cartoon characters fall in love. Except for the throbbing.

A couple of months ago, the building directly behind my condo switched careers from Professional Occupied Building to Professional Pile. The next stage of its strange life was a stunning transformation from Pile to Hole, and in recent weeks I have had the pleasure of witnessing the last link in the circle of life, which I like to call Phoenix Rising. In this gripping episode, a young and misguided but undeniably promising Hole learns that to succeed in this hard world, apparently you must belch forth the exact same building that was totally freaking destroyed three months ago. I call this Phoenix Rising because it is exactly like the ancient myth of the phoenix, a beautiful bird which bursts into flames every 500 years and is reborn from the ashes, except replace "beautiful bird" with "crappy apartment building", and "500 years" with "every 6 months or so".

Anyway, Phoenix Rising is currently in that stage of construction where a horde of workers swarm over every surface looking for something to shoot with their nail guns to appear busy. I'm pretty sure they are playing a game that I just haven't fully figured out the rules for yet. I think it's like Marco Polo except that instead of yelling "Marco" while blindfolded in a pool, the person who is "it" goes THWACK THWACK THWACK with the nail gun, and the other players, instead of answering "Polo", answer with a hearty THWACK THWACK THWACK of their own. Also, everybody is "it".

I lay in bed trying to simultaneously decode the finer strategic points of Thwarcko Thwackolo and maximize my afternoon sleeping opportunity, but I am just not a multitasker. Amazingly, however, the afternoon sun's gentle warmth and glow eventually mix with Phoenix Rising's fluttering wind of thwacks and grunts to concoct a fairly solid 20 minute nap. Upon rising from my painfully short sleep, I can finally begin to imagine the world in which I can stay awake long enough to make it through Explosions in the Sky, and maybe even actually enjoy myself. I drag my ass out of bed and head over to Capital Hill to meet up with the gang, now brimming with fresh confidence that I'm going to have a good time, but also still brimming with disgusting mucus.

After loading up my pockets with tissues, I join my peeps at a local drinking establishment where the time-honored process of "pre-funking" is being diligently practiced. Being sick, I opt out of my usual chain-boozing to suck down Coke refill after Coke refill while my colleagues and I swap hilarious anecdotes, spin enchanting tales of bravery and wit punctuated by thoughtful morals and keenly applicable life lessons, and call each other names. Although delicious and refreshing, the constant Coke stream also has a hydrating effect which makes my stuffed-upedness more of an immediate problem, and I begin to worry about the quantity of tissue I have in my pockets being adequate for this amazing amount of material my body is able to produce to attack my having a good time.

After repeatedly performing our amazing beer/Coke/fries disappearing tricks to the delight of our check-bearing waitress audience, we stumble over to Neumo's for the show. Now you must understand that not once throughout the entire day did I in any way crave delicious beer, even when displayed before me glinting in the pale afternoon light, arrayed in rainbow-edged shawls of streaming bubbles, playfully marbling the polished pub tables with shimmering golden reflections. As a matter of fact, the thought of beer was actually sort of repulsive. I like to think that this is also an indication of responsibility for my health, and a sign of commitment to the stay-hydrated, get-lots-of-rest mantra. Regardless of the method, all restraint separating me from beer was vaporized immediately upon entering Neumo's by the inescapable pull of the giant stubby bottles of Red Stripe beer. Giant stubby, you might be asking? That's right, while the giant Red Stripe is twice the size of normal Red Stripe, it maintains the original container's exact stubby proportions. Here is documented evidence from our first encounter:

In retrospect, it becomes obvious that the reason I felt this uncompromising pull toward the giant, two-handed stubby bottle was neither alcoholism nor gravity, as you may imagine. Rather, it was my body signaling to me what it needed to get better. Much like craving strange foods can be an indication you are lacking some sort of valuable nutrient found in those foods, evidently my body was lacking some sort of magical medicinal substance only found in 24oz stubby containers of Jamaican lager.

Ah the miracle of modern medicine! Can you believe that upon completing my prescribed dosage of barley-pop I felt great! Seriously, I didn't have to blow my nose again for the remainder of the night!

More remarkable proof of the completeness of my cure comes the next day, when I awake at my normal work hour on 4 hours of sleep, having a perfectly good excuse to call in sick to work. Ordinarily, even in the midst of being perfectly healthy, I seek endlessly in the murky labyrinths of morning logic for any excuse to stay in bed. However, with my health renewed by the miracle of medical science, I actually decide to voluntarily get up and head into work a few minutes early.

I feel a creeping sense of expectancy for most of the day, thinking that all of this energy is too good to be true and the other shoe is going to drop at any minute. Maybe God is going to show up and be like "Hey Grant, turns out I was casting a miracle on someone who actually needed it, but I, uh, missed and accidently granted you with Infinite Energy in delicious beer form! I'll need that back now..." But alas! I am amazingly productive at work, come home filled with delight at the beautiful weather, and am amazingly productive at home! Amazing!

Medicine, I will never doubt you again.

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