Today, I vowed that regardless of what came to pass, there would be one goal at which I would surely succeed, regardless of cost or consequence: I would at long last cast off this thrice-damned cold, nasal drip and all.
Having made this vow, though, I was unsure of how to go about doing it. I'd tried everything I could thing of: medicine, rest, getting other people sick, liquor, porn, and eating random plants in the hope that one of them contained some unknown cure for the common cold, like you see at 2 AM on those infomercials about the rain forest.
Until now no luck.
I roused the children with cursing and threats, but they ignored me. It's like they've finally hipped to the fact that mommy's not here, and the second-in-command guy isn't worth getting all hot and bothered about. I'm like a cross between Sgt. Carter and Col. Klink, only less menacing than either.
Plus there's no sweet-voiced Gomer to help me make it through these rough patches. I did get to listen to ten minutes of recorder practice, though, which I didn't so much hear as felt through my eye teeth.
Somehow we got up, dressed, and out the door. As always the boy looked like he was packed to ascend K-2, and I swear the girl was wearing her mother's clothing and jewelry, but who was I to argue? I figured they knew what they were doing.
As I sat at work, staring out the window and wondering if the fall from my office to the ground would be fatal (probably not, I finally decided) the answer came to me: Chinese food.
How could I have forgotten the healing power of Chinese food?
You know how when you order the spiciest thing on the menu, then lard it with hot sauce, your eyes water and your sinuses clear up and you feel like somebody set off a chemical fire in your brain?
THAT's what I needed!
However, I couldn't just go to the Chinese restaurant by myself. More accurately I could, but I didn't want to. So I needed to trick some people into going with me so I wouldn't look like some sick lunatic trying to infect everyone with swine flu. Fortunately I knew just how to do this.
I went by the office of our resident health nut, who goes swimming every day and normally never eats out. But I knew the sure-fire way to get him to go with me. "Do you remember that award that I submitted our project for?" I said.
"Yes," he said. "Why?"
"I heard a rumor that we might win," I said. "This calls for a celebration!"
"Yeah!" he said. "Rumors are never wrong!"
Then he proposed we invite the other guy on the project, which I wasn't going to do, mostly because this guy eats so slowly that I once got run over by a glacier waiting for him to finish dessert.
You know how in some countries monkeys come and steal food right off your plate if you're not fast enough? This guy once lost an entrée to a sloth. He's so slow that his glass goes dry from evaporation. It takes him so long-
I think you get the point.
By all rights I did need to invite him, though, because he did do something like half the work on the project. The health nut did the other half. What did I do, you ask?
I submitted it for the award, that's what. Those entry forms aren't going to fill themselves out!
Well, I invited the guy, and long story short he came and his girlfriend came too (no, I don't know why, but there you go). I ordered spicy beef and egg rolls, and when it came I took out that super-hot sauce that they keep in the little jar with the decorative spoon that they don't expect you to use (or only expect you to use a dot of) and just slathered the egg rolls with that stuff, the table gradually growing silent.
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Mr. Healthy asked.
"It's the only way," I said. "Tell my wife I loved her."
Then I bit into it, and let me tell you, it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: what kind of idiot would show such blatant disregard for hygiene, sanity, and his own body?
To which I can only respond in the immortal words of Dr. Peter Venkman: back off, man, I'm a scientist.
I will admit that the first few seconds were fairly difficult, when it felt like I'd swallowed a radioactive squirrel who had an alien exploding out of it. However, I passed the first test: I didn't vomit.
My eyes watered.
My throat seized.
And, for the first time in days, I sucked air in through both nostrils.
I COULD BREATHE!
Let me tell you, after that the rest of the day was going to be a breeze. I was ready to take on the world and do whatever the day brought me. Filled with a new attitude of confidence and health that I hadn't had in days, I charged back to the office to attack the work that awaited me.
Specifically, two hours later, I attacked the bathroom when my bowels began hitting EJECT and I started to think that perhaps breathing was overrated.
Beggars in a potty emergency can't be choosy, so I had to go to the "ecological" bathroom near my office. This thing was designed by hippies who hate all human life, specifically those who go to the bathroom. The little cubicles are hermetically sealed, and when you press the button, the lights stay on for about thirty seconds. Then they go off, and you have to wait fifteen seconds to press the button for them to come on.
Unless, of course, the system is feeling perverse and the lights don't come back on and you have to wind up an unpleasant trip to the can using your cell phone as the only source of illumination.
Not, you know, that that's ever happened to me.
Finally I picked the kids up from school, and I offered them a special treat: a trip to an electronics store! I told them they could each pick something out.
See, I love electronics stores, because they're full of all sorts of stuff I don't know how to use but which look cool and run on electricity, like webcams and computer games and stuff. It makes me feel smarter just being in their presence.
Usually I have to go with Wifey, who ruins the whole thing with her "what would you do with that " and "that's too expensive" and "you already have one of those". I mean, really, what's the good of having a career and sucking up to the boss if you can't blow your paycheck on gaudy electronics?
But without Wifey (and with the bank card) I could buy all sorts of things!
Alas, it was not to be. The children, rotten little SOB's that they are, didn't want to go! And you know how it is trying to drool over gigantic televisions when they're whining and carrying on and trying to sword fight with the digital display cameras and the manager's all like "can you please control your children" and then you get thrown out and they ask you not to come back.
Not, you know, that that's ever happened to me.
So instead we went home. But as vengeance, I stopped and got Pizza Hut pizza on the way home. It's not on the pre-approved food list, but I don't care: they deserve the vengeance of the curse for thwarting my desire to look at electronics!
At home I also forced them to watch Godzilla vs Monster Zero, a classic of the genre and featuring the Godzilla victory dance. Perhaps the only one which tops this one is the all-time great Godzilla vs Megalon, even though Megalon is most useless monster ever. But it's still awesome because of Gigan and the classic line, "he's reprogrammed himself to grow!"
Sorry, that was a tangent. But I do love me some Godzilla, and I'm working hard to instill this important value in my children. Because it's important that they, like the founding fathers, appreciate that giant radioactive creatures can play an important role in society.
Plus they should understand the dangers that radioactivity can cause when in the wrong hands, leading to mutated animals, giant ants, and fire-breathing lizards. Only responsible democracies and hard-core tyrannies that want to threaten their neighbors should be allowed nuclear materials.
Unfortunately, the astronauts had barely reached Planet X when I had to make another trip to the bathroom to get over Emperor Zhao's Revenge (or whatever it was I had). On the upside my breathing was perfect. On the down side, you're never exactly pining away to smell intestinal distress.
After the movie the children amused themselves playing video games, and entered into a discussion about which Pokemon their parents resembled most.
"Mommy is definitely a Blissy, because they love their young and take such great care of them and are really nice and spread eternal happiness." The girl rhapsodized.
"Yeah," the boy said. "And daddy is a Fartachu that spews horrible gas and everybody hates!"
"Hey!" I protested.
"That's not right," the girl said. "That's called a Grimer."
"Go to bed!" I commanded.
My stomach is gurgling, and it makes me miss my cold already.
Five down, six to go.