5 Weirdly Specific Things Everyone Tries To Do When Sick
A few weeks ago, evolution failed me, and I got sick. And when I say sick, I mean the useless kind of sick where if I lived in medieval times, I would've been thrown off the side of a cliff in order to stop the spread. It then would have been renamed "Devil's Cliff" and become the site of many tragic, witch-related verdicts.
It's not like I haven't been this sick before. I wasn't lying there in wide-eyed bafflement, wondering why demons were shitting in my lungs. But for the first time, I realized how many weirdly specific things you can't do while in this condition. For instance ...
Masturbation Is An Exercise In Self-Torture
I don't know if it's the same for women, but for guys, the brain gremlins who operate the horny button don't take a sick day. It's incredibly annoying, because when you feel like you're having a full-body toothache, the last thing you want to do is appease a boner. Still, there's a primitive, psychotic part of your mind that thinks, "Maybe if I have an orgasm, I'll feel better. Or at least get exhausted enough to pass out."
Trying to will yourself into eroticism is embarrassing. When you lie in bed for more than a few days, your body starts to break down. Planting yourself on your side, you watch as your arms get paler and skinnier and your stomach begins to pool out onto the bed ... after about a week you look like a melted candle. It's incredibly difficult to take a gander at that ugly, gelatinous form and think to yourself, "You know what this needs? Jerking off." I'm not saying that I get turned on only by the sight of my own body (though that's sometimes true -- I'm a pretty, pretty man), but feeling sexy is just as big a part of masturbation as imagining other sexy people.
All the thoughts of Beyonce in the world don't matter when you feel like Jay Z looks.
There is no clear answer as to why anyone would decide that it's a good idea to play whack-a-mole when you already feel like a used condom, but I managed to do it each and every time. And each time I felt just as bad as I did before ... except a lot more tired and sweaty. And I couldn't tell which tissues were from my nose and which were from my dick. Note to self: I need to buy a garbage can for my bedroom.
The one time not being able to smell or taste anything made my life better.
Jerking off when you're sick is like making a pizza when all you have is uncooked crust. None of the ingredients are there to make it worth creating, and trying it is a waste of soft dough, so you're better off just waiting for a time when you're more well-stocked, or you could just order pizza from the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist. The analogy kind of breaks down there, but you know what I mean.
All You Can Do Is Watch TV ... And You Can't Enjoy Any Of It
When you're so sick that you're rendered immobile, all you want to do is stretch out on the couch, put on a movie or TV show, and be a lump. If you're lucky, you'll fall asleep. If you're not, you at least want to be entertained enough to be distracted from your pain. Unfortunately, that very pain turns all forms of entertainment into annoying piles of suck.
Getting sick and scrolling through Netflix will make you question why moving pictures were even invented. All of the movies that you watch, especially comedies, are going to be your mind's version of dry-humping a cheese grater. Netflix needs a category where it asks you how many/what kinds of antibiotics you're on, and then just puts on a comforting movie that you've seen before. In my case, I would've chosen "Z-Pak" and been treated to eight hours of Michael Keaton whimsy, because if any movie is going to be the cinematic equivalent of chicken noodle soup, it's fucking Mr. Mom.
It's heartening to know that, sometimes, even Batman has no idea what he's doing.
Trying to find new things should be illegal, though. I'd already gone through every Netflix documentary with the plot of "People say that they've seen a giant snake, but HAVE THEY?" So I figured that I'd try out a few lauded independent comedy/dramas where characters solve their problems through stares and beautiful shots of fields at dawn. While the moral of every one of these movies is "Happiness, as you know it, is wrong," the moral of my attempt to spend my sick day watching Sad Getting Sadder (And A Famous Comedian Acting Sad Too) was "Fuck this. Fuck this. Fuck off."
My biopic, except coming that close to food would only mean
a coffee cup full of gnarly chunks.
Every bit of nuance that these movies had was lost on me. My eyes hurt, and my stuffy head took all of it as an affront. Translating any sort of subtlety so that my couch/body/NyQuil hybrid could properly receive it was a chore that I was not up for. So I fumed at the TV until Netflix inquired, "Are you still there?" which, coincidentally, is the theme of a lot of these movies. And I didn't respond. I'd give movies another shot when I got better. For the time being, I was just going to have to entertain myself with a method that people used before TVs were invented: I was going to be miserable and hate myself until I could go outside again.
Blankets Become As Complex As Astrophysics
Blankets are the simplest thing in the world to operate, but when you're sick, they suddenly turn into Rubik's Cubes. Somewhere in your house, there is one that's the perfect size and thickness to get you through feeling like you're alternating between the arctic poles and the core of the Sun. But you feel so shitty that there's no way you can devote the time to finding it. So you grab whatever's closest and just deal with it.
That specific blanket is always a piece of shit.
Like wrapping yourself in one-ply toilet paper.
Trying to find the proper weight and distribution ratio is like trying to figure out the properties of dark matter. You get multiple blankets and pile them on, but the math doesn't work out. I'm not ridiculously tall, but it is hard to find couch blankets that are somewhere between the size of Kleenex and carpet. If I covered myself from the neck down, I'd need another blanket to cover myself from the feet up. But then, my middle would be too hot. And, if I bunched them up to cool down my middle, then it would be too heavy on my neck or feet and GAAAH WHY HAS THIS WORLD FORSAKEN ME?!
You get to the point where the only way to stay uniformly covered is to curl up in the fetal position, or turn the blanket diagonally so your feet don't hang out the bottom like the flu's version of an underboob gallery from the Chive. And even if you do find the perfect spot, it's not staying that way for long. God forbid that you fall asleep, because you're going to wake up with that shit wadded up around your chin like a Lenny Kravitz scarf.
This, plus sex with literally every woman alive today,
keeps him warm and healthy all year round.
There are a few instances in every sickness where your body becomes a pin cushion, and every slight breeze threatens to render you a skinless, quivering mass. At the same time, every blanket turns you into that drippy, disgusting sponge on the back of the sink that should have been thrown away six months ago. Blankets are our most bittersweet triumph as a species. Now I am become Cozy, Destroyer Of Worlds.
Standing In Line Is Karma For All Of Your Wrongdoings
Heading out into the world while you're sick is always a stunningly bad idea, because you get "sick vision." Sick vision doesn't necessarily make you angrier or more lethargic. It simply places everything behind a mental haze. If you're standing in a line, that haze will turn your surroundings into a dream sequence from A Nightmare On Elm Street, where the hallways get longer and every voice is an echoing trumpet of fire.
It'll make you want to eat meatballs about as much, too.
Along with sick vision, I'd gotten "sick mouth," which meant everything that entered my maw tasted like rats that had been marinated in their own urine. The only thing that sounded even remotely tolerable was pineapple-orange-banana juice, because the flu basically hijacks the "this tastes good" part of your brain. And then laughs and laughs while you try to unhack its fuckery.
Mmmm, unholy concoctions.
So I took a trip to Walmart to pick up some of that, and all of the Ibuprofen that I could carry, before people started thinking that I was the world's worst Breaking Bad side character. When I lugged the items up to the checkout lanes, I noticed that all of them were full in the worst ways. People were evidently shopping for an imminent apocalypse, as well as learning for the first time how to perform simple transactions and conversations.
The heat in the store was turned up to Hell. The jacket that I wore suddenly felt like a flame-elemental python that had escaped from a bad RPG. People looked at my dull, complexion-less face and grimaced. I was the beginning of a disease movie, and when I finally made it to the cashier without toppling over and being swept away by a janitor (which is what happens to all of the dead bodies in Walmart) she rung me up without saying a word. Opening her lips might increase her chances of putting herself in my situation, and she'd rather just point at the machine that I needed to use next, rather than give me the chance to disperse my ruinous plague.
The machine I swiped my debit card through is still in quarantine.
The moment that I got to my car, I opened my pineapple-orange-banana juice and chugged it in the parking lot. It was the worst thing I ever tasted.
Drinking Sets You Back To Square One
Any time I've gotten the sound advice of "Don't drink until (insert personal Hell here) is over," I consider myself above it. I figure that I can beat the way alcohol affects my body because I am the whiskeybender. My doctor even told me, "It can mess up your kidneys if you start drinking while you're on this medication," and I listened to him in the same way that you'd listen to a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher in a college yard. "Yeah, yeah, insane man. Suuuuure that'll happen. Just write the prescription, because I have to get home and immediately dissolve it in a shot glass full of bathtub moonshine. It's the only way I can swallow anything that isn't pizza."
Have you ever seen moonshine get the flu? No? Exactly.
I have friends who are in great shape and can drink under any circumstance, but I am not one of those people. I've never gone drinking while sick, only to wake up healthier the next morning. I don't know the active ingredient in cough syrup, but tequila is the opposite of it. Cough syrup is the angel on your shoulder, and tequila is the demon that just jerks off in your eye and makes you watch Michael Keaton-less movies while you fistfight your blankets.
"A tablespoon of me means Beetlejuice for thee!"
But drinkers know that booze makes you feel good under normal circumstances, so it only stands to reason: "I feel like shit. A good vodka buzz will make me feel better." Every drinker has a recipe that they swear will kick your illness' ass. And that recipe is usually just "alcohol ... only hot." And no, it never works. Ever.
What happens instead is that you get this really icky buzz that feels like you had a one-night stand, skipped the sex, and still got chlamydia. Weirdly, it tastes like that too. The last time I experienced that was was last New Year. The sick buzz, not the one-night stand. When I woke up the next day, my throat felt like I'd finished the champagne and decided to eat the glass. My body felt like it had been punch-fucked by a passenger jet. Even when I got sick this latest time, that feeling was still very clear in my head ... and I still decided that my temperature needed to be managed with a stiff bottle of Fireball. I was mistaken.
I'll probably do it again the next time I get sick.
The nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever,
so you can wake up in a cold sweat and do all that shit again tomorrow medicine.
Daniel has a blog.
Sometimes getting sick means you hate what's on Netflix, and sometimes getting sick makes you travel to Jerusalem and proclaim you are the next Jesus. See the craziest mind-induced sicknesses in The 5 Strangest Ways Your Mind Can Get Your Body Sick, and see why it's impossible to find the proper specialist in 5 Things I Didn't Know About Health Care (Until I Got Sick).
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