Friday, January 6, 2012


I've been couch-ridden or bed-ridden with a nasty little cold for the past two days.

I tried to blast it with decongestants and a Naked Juice Mango Fruit Smoothie at the first sign of trouble, but I think all I did was make it mad.

Oh well.  If this is what fate has decreed for me this week, I'm just glad I was able to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.  And I'm glad it isn't happening next week, since I'll be incredibly busy and actually in charge of things.

As to where I picked this little bug up, I can't imagine.  Certainly not in the rest stops on I-81.  Or on the train to Charlotte.  Or in the children's play area at the museum.  Or in the restrooms at the ice rink and the Olive Garden.  Or from the air hockey table at the bowling alley.  Or on the playground.

It's a mystery.

It's particularly annoying to me that, because of the underground meth lab craze, I can no longer simply stagger into a drugstore and grab the ("good") Sudafed off the shelf.  It has been replaced by Sudafed PE, in which the PE stands for "Practically Empty."

I will never forget the 5 days I took that crap, wondering why it didn't seem to be working the way it always had.

Anyway, you now have to take a little card (if you can find one), go to the pharmacist and request actual pseudoephedrine.  They will then scan your license, and if there's an unexplained explosion on your property within the next few days, you will be on the news.

I can't help but wonder whether this new procedure has had any statistical effect whatsoever on the production of crank and the existence of meth labs of America, but I don't feel like looking it up.

That's how you can tell I don't feel good: I had an opportunity to look up an odd fact, and I decided to pass.

For the record, I would like to say that I really don't know what neurons are firing in individuals' brains to prompt them to unite lithium batteries, drain cleaner, Sudafed and matchbook striker plates in order to get high. 

I mean, really.  A friend asks me if I want to try something and when I ask what's in it, they say, "Oh, drain cleaner.  And the lithium from my camera battery.  Oh, and I used up all of your Sudafed."

And nearly blew up my house in the process.  I must say, I don't like to judge but... not smart.  I'm thinking that's one small but very significant step backward for humanity right there.

In other news, my paper proposal on John Hersey's Hiroshima was accepted (see Narrative and Catastrophe), so I'll be heading to Canada in May to present that.

And I got a check for royalties on one of my articles.  Sweet.  Getting paid to write is never a bad thing, in my world.

Right now, I'm reading The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar.  Attar was a 12th-century Sufi poet, and The Conference of the Birds is about--you guessed it--a gathering of birds who discuss, among other things, politics and Sufi spirituality.

According to Sufi doctrine, we must leave behind the concerns of the self and constantly turn in love towards the divine. 

Something to think about when I blow my nose and it feels like my sinuses might very well come out my eyeballs.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."