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by: Max Burbank

I've been a little sick recently.

Just after Christmas, my daughters, or "The Vectors of Disease" as I like to think of them, began collecting rare variations of this winter's crop of colds, flues and clandestine government biowarfare experiments and bringing them home. It's hard to proudly display a microscopic germ the way you might Beanie Babies or Pokemon cards. If you really want to give your new malady pride of place, keep it out where you can gaze on
it lovingly whenever you want, you pretty much have to give it to your Dad.

My oldest has a sort of Jackson Pollack aesthetic about the whole thing, a no holds barred, cough up a lung, contaminate the air and coat every surface approach. She is her sickness. To live with her is to live with it. The younger, not even a year yet, has a surprisingly post modern style, full of tongue in cheek irony. She likes to let her virus brew for a while, patiently allowing it to mutate into something unique, like a Toddler Julia Child slowly simmering a consume. Then with a delightful, wide mouth chuckle, exposing both of her tiny little choppers, she'll jam a chubby finger absolutely seething with corruption right up your nose. Or into your mouth, and eye, ear, open cut, she's not that particular as long as there's some sort of soft
tissue for her to colonize.

You may have noticed I haven't used their names. That's because we're afraid the Center for Disease Control will want them for breeding stock.

I tell you all this because I'm sure you've been ill at least once this winter, and there's something I need you to know; I'm sicker than you. My wife's had everything I've had and I'm sicker than her too. The folks who's suppurating wounds Mother Theresa used to swab? Sicker than them too. Well, maybe not sicker, but I feel worse. I don't care if you've had scarlet fever, walking pneumonia or that thing where you fall in front of a speeding subway train, I feel much worse than you. So don't talk to me about your swollen sinuses, your post nasal drip, your tight chest. I don't give a rat's ass. Right now you should be making me a cup of tea and getting a cold cloth for my forehead. I'd ask you to massage a little Vic's onto my chest, but we've never even met so I'll thank you not to get so Goddamned close.

Okay, you know when you move into a new house? And at some point you decide to clean the gutters? And it turns out the guy who lived there before you was an Octogenarian midget with an aversion to ladders? So there's a generation a decaying leaves and moss and muck and squirrel carcasses and bird bones and once you get down deep enough it's just this uniform black stew that smells like a rotting tooth? That's pretty much what's going on in my ears, nose and throat. Yesterday I coughed so hard I actually turned inside out. My temperature? 115 degrees. And yes, I know that's medically impossible. My voice sounds like someone
punching holes in an ancient screen door with a piece of chalk. On the rare occasions I can make myself understood I'm mistaken for Lauren Bacall on a three day bender asking for her Goddamned unfiltered Camels for Christ's sake.

I'm not looking for your pity. It's nothing to me. Jesus on the Cross, maybe. You? What do you know about suffering?

I'm sure I'll get better eventually. Either that or I'll die and then all you bastards will sure as hell be sorry. If I'm a little bit grouchy, well I'm sure I apologize. I don't guess you're Martha friggin' Stuart every hour of the day either. Now go in the kitchen, make me some chicken soup, turn on Judge Judy but not so GODDAMNED LOUD, MY HEAD IS SPLITTING, WHO ARE YOU, HITLER?! And when I ring this little bell? That means come in here and sit quietly listening to me complain. It doesn't make me feel any better, but I can see it makes you feel worse and that's about the only thing right now that let's me know I'm still alive.

note #1: Max Burbank is currently enjoying a hot bowl of "special" chicken soup and working towards a good recovery.

note #2: -RoG- made that "special" chicken soup just for Max. "Special" meaning "urinated in".

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