It’s barf season. The flu is making the rounds, striking down the young and old, the smart and stupid. Worse, it’s incapacitating essential people like women.
Yes, I said “women.” I singled them out specifically because of their gender.
The stereotype is necessary. There is no creature on earth more wretched than a man with the flu and no woman to sympathize with him, even if she’s only pretending.
With apologies to gay men, I’m including you in this blatantly gender-specific statement. You did, after all, have mothers. Remember how she took care of you when you were sick as a kid?
Well, I don’t care how loving your current partner is, he nevertheless remains hobbled by a Y chromosome, which is a form of kryptonite when it comes to healing and comforting the sick.
From my earliest memories, I only wanted Mom when I got sick. I didn’t want my father bringing me anything, especially not pills or syrups I would have to swallow.
The Old Man could have offered me anything to take the pills — flamethrower, dynamite or even my own bear — and it wouldn’t have mattered. I just wanted Mom.
Scientists know what I’m talking about. Women have highly curative powers. They don’t even have to do anything. Just stand by a guy’s bed when he’s sick, and he’ll immediately start to feel better.
Maybe that is why the sickest I’ve ever been was in South America while sharing an apartment with three other Mormon elders.
It came on me in the middle of the night. I threw up on the floor and a fever kicked in. By morning, I had a temperature of 103 and couldn’t even stand.
Nevertheless, the work had to go on. Elder Prescott got dressed and arranged to work with a local companion.
Him • “I’m out of here. Don’t die.”
Me • “Tell my family that my last thoughts were … of bourbon.”
By noon I was hallucinating. I still remember having a conversation with Charlie Felt, my maternal grandfather who had been dead nearly 10 years. There was an alligator under my bed, and my slippers kept morphing into vampire rats.
At some point, I lapsed into unconsciousness. I woke to a ring of unsympathetic faces peering down at me with revulsion.
Elder Prescott • “He smells dead.
Elder Mertz • “Poke him. See if he moves.”
Elder Corkhead • “Not me. If Heavenly Father wants him to get better, he will.”
In the end, they put me in a cab and gave the driver an enormous tip to dump me out at the mission home.
See what I mean? If a woman had been there, I would have started getting better immediately. She would have patted my head, said “there, there” and brought me soup.
Proof of this is that I got married six months after I got home. Before we were married even a year, my wife had nursed me through a total of 150 stitches, two major colds, a broken leg, pneumonia and a raccoon bite. I don’t count the explosion because she was in Canada visiting family when that happened.
Right now, I’m comforted by the fact that my wife will be with me if I get the flu. She’ll make me take medicine, stay in bed and in general nurse me back to health.
I have no idea what will happen if she gets sick. I hope my daughters can tell me what to do.