Here comes Santa Claus. Let’s hope he’s brought some cold meds.
Christmas is here. Happiness and cheer.
Or in my case, an upper respiratory infection re-gifted from my wife to me. It comes in the form of a head full of yellow mucus, a rattling cough that keeps me awake at night, and a house strewn with empty Gatorade bottles and used Kleenex. Whenever I blow my nose I sound like a Port Authority tugboat. But hey, at least I’ve been able to stay home from work all week and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns on Netflix. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Maybe one day I’ll look back on this as the holiday that everything went wonky. Two weeks ago, we had to cancel our trip to Cleveland for my wife’s family Christmas party because she was sick. Then, this past weekend we traveled to another of her family get-togethers in Detroit, where the minute we arrived, I started feeling like warmed-over death. I spent the entire visit wrapped in a blanket, slurping Thera-flu and quarantining myself from festive yule revelers. When I finally ventured downstairs for the white elephant gift exchange, I sat around for thirty minutes and came away with a small hammer, which I wanted to use to beat my head with to knock the snot loose.
(I know what you’re thinking: How did you get so lucky as to marry into a family that lives in Cleveland and Detroit, but please, I’m not in the mood to be messed with.)
By the time we got back home on Monday, I chose to to opt out of another family tradition, the Christmas lights scavenger hunt. Brittany went and I stayed home, where I watched old Tim Allen movies on Netflix, like The Santa Clause 3 and Christmas With The Kranks, which I had hoped would have provided me with some cheap nostalgia, but instead just irritated me with how stupid they still are.
I really feel like I’m rotting my brain by watching so much television — I’d much rather read. But when I’m sick I can’t really bring myself to concentrate on a book for more than a few seconds, which was doubly frustrating this week, since I had to study for the final of a political theory course I was taking. Do you want to know what is infinitely less interesting when you’re sick than when you’re well? Reading Karl Marx, who was no Jean-Luc Picard to begin with.
It’s amazing how a little virus can drain all of the Christmas cheer right out of you, one liter of snot at a time. Between taking care of Brittany during her illness and now undergoing my own this week, I haven’t even been able to Christmas shop, which means I will now need to go to the mall on one of the busiest days of the year looking like an extra on The Walking Dead. Holy Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
My wife just sat down next to me and asked, “Am I going to have any Christmas presents from you?” I smiled and told her that I was planning on it, to which she gave me the side glance. I can sense her unbridled optimism. After failing to provide a birthday present for her this year (I forgot to buy one while planning the birthday dinner, okay?), I can’t afford to miss Christmas. Maybe I should convert. I think there are less gift expectations with Hanukkah.
Oh, and did I mention that we are hosting Christmas for my parents and sister at our house this weekend? We became home owners over the summer and, after renovations in the fall, have been looking forward to having our very first holiday with family at our place. We’ve been calling back and forth with my folks, trying to ascertain the level of health risk they’re willing to take to gather round our hearth (which in our case, is a YouTube video of a fireplace looping on the television). It feels like prepping them to fly to Equatorial Guinea: “Are you up on your shots?”
So, if Santa Claus just happens to read this, I’d like to ask him for some extra boxes of Advil Cold & Sinus, the Kleenex with the soothing lotion (my nose is as red as a fire hydrant), several bottles of Gatorade to cut the phlegm, the value-pack of Lysol for the guests, some new sweatpants (mine are wearing out) and — since I’ve been extra good this year — a couple of reindeer tranquilizers.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! I’m going back to bed.