How the flu kicked my ass or how I ended up with two cats

Nothing says “I enjoy a good dump” more than walking down the street with a 12pack of Scott toilet paper tucked under your arm. Even if we didn’t have a .10 cent plastic bag tax in DC, I still wouldn’t  have been able to disguise the mega roll of butt wipe. Instead of the 12pack under my arm, a giant bag of TP would have been flapping around advertising my mega dumps. The reason I had toilet paper… other than the obvious “hey I have indoor plumbing and I don’t wipe my ass with magazines” indicator that goes with TP purchases… was the fact that I finally made it to CVS after nearly a week of being sick. I had finally gotten more cough medicine, a toothbrush, and on a whim I decided not to tempt fate and got some butt wipe… when one is sick with the flu it is the Boy Scout… be prepared!… who buys more TP when the last roll is hanging by the crapper.

I hate shopping of any type… food, butt wipe, clothes, car, home… whatever… I fucking hate it. I usually have my groceries delivered because I hate the American art of offering too many choices for whole kernel corn… how many brands do we fucking need?… so I avoided CVS in the midst of my creeping coughing death this past week. Finally, I broke down and went in. The cough demanded it.

Speaking of too many choices… are you aware there are 8 shelves of cough syrup choices??? and that is just for fucking kids. In the middle of a coughing fit and looking all contagious and shit, I stared at all these cough syrups and kept wondering which happy smiling bear I should choose to fix my cough… until I realized I wasn’t in the adult section, but instead I was in the children’s medicine area. Shelf after shelf, row after row, colorful bears, pixies, and smiling little cartoonish kids promised me relief from my lung and chest busting cough. Disappointingly, the adult section was larger on a grander scale… yet not a single fucking bear or pixie promised me relief. We are raising generations of wusses…. wusses who rely on happy cartoonish kids to get them through their illness… I wanted a happy blue bear to help me… instead I get the green smiling Mucinex snot monster. Growing up sucks.

Finally, after a lot of stumbling and staring, I selected the Mucinex of my choice… chosen not by flavor but by the fact it said “maximum strength” on the label. No way was I going to settle for regular strength… I am a grown-ass man and grown-ass men need “maximum strength.” I sorta read the label… but peeling off that back label is hard to do when you are a weak after having the flu and coughing up a lung every 3 minutes… but I put on my big boy undies and selected my snot coughing inducing Mucinex… grabbed the 12 pack of butt wipe and proudly went the counter. The CVS cashier eyed my purchases and stepped back… I didn’t break his stare… dude… I am going to need to dump soon and I don’t want it interrupted by a cough… ring it up and ring it up proudly… I got some shittin’ and coughin’ to do!

A week ago I felt a tickle in my chest as I walked to work. Five hours later I was back home and curdled up in bed like a weaning baby. A high fever racked my body and I swear I heard my neighbor playing the trumpet… yet I know my neighbor does not play the trumpet… yeah it was one of those kind of fevers. So last Tuesday at 2pm I laid down with a fever and yesterday afternoon I woke up enough to realize I needed to get some air and shower… and shave… one thing is for sure… when you have the flu your facial hair continues to grow. I’m a grown-ass man with grown-ass man facial hair… flu or not… I’m gonna grow some hair. Them blue happy cough syrup bears can’t touch my hairiness with their big happy blue paws.

I have lived alone now for nearly a year and a half and this was the first time I had been sick and completely alone. It is sort of disconcerting to wake up at odd moments completely alone and not know whether you are sick or well or even what time of day… let alone what day… it was. In between soaking sheet fevers, I would mumble to the ceiling in my bedroom about how wonderful being healthy is and how it would have been nice to have something near by that cared if you were alive or dead. Thus cats it became.

Right before I got sick I had a friend who needed someone to take a couple of his cats… good lovable creatures supposedly… because of a change in their life. I had considered pets before but always ruled a no considering the last time I had my heart-broken when my best dog… Trot… died from diabetes. I have always been a dog person, but my urban lifestyle and imagined metrosexual status is more cat like… thus I had agreed a few days before being stricken with the plague to meet these “adorable” cats.

Well, cat owners in desperate need of a home for their cats are not going to allow your illness from keeping them from pawning their felines off on you. So in an hour of no fever I agreed to meet these cats. Botchka (Russian for grandmother… whose real name is John Cabot) sorta showed herself… she is a lump and shy and Gelly (short for Magellan) made an appearance. They didn’t seem to hate me and I didn’t seem to sneeze or be repelled. Selfishly I figured two cats named after explorers… people name their pets oddly… wouldn’t be such bad companions. Supposedly both creatures like to share the bed and couch with people… and after a week of lonely illness I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have the flu around these two noncommittal creatures. I mean… I pretty noncommittal in my attitude about cats, why shouldn’t they be allowed to be noncommittal about me. So I agreed to take these cats… and I don’t think it was the fever talking.

Tomorrow the famed explorers become part of my family. Hopefully the cough will be near its end and I will have only used a few squares of the butt wipe. If that isn’t how it works out, however, at least I know the neighbors won’t have to put up with the smell of death emitting from my apartment… because we all know the cats will eat my dead body when I discover that this gut wrenching flu was really the early stages of the plague. Everything works out in the end. Welcome Botchka and Gelly… but leave the butt wipe alone… that is mine.


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