I am a man. And despite my many masculine traits, this means I am not a good sick person. I have learned this about myself.
At the first sign of a sniffle, I become bedridden and my voice gets high-pitched.
Right now, for instance, I’m in bed. A vaporizer sits on my nightstand. I’m browsing the internet for a unique, but traditional headstone made of Peruvian granite.
“Here lies Sean,” it will read. “He told his wife he was sick, and she laughed.”
My wife, Jamie, is a card-carrying woman.
Right now, she has the same fatal illness I have. And even though she’s hacking up multi-colored phlegm, running a mild fever, she is unstoppable.
Today, for example, I barely scraped together enough stamina to take a shower. She mopped, dusted, and tarred the shed roof.
I also feel obliged to tell you that it’s not my fault that I’m a wimp. I am like most men. My intolerance for stuffy noses originates with my mother.
As a boy,
my mother took illness seriously. She wouldn’t let her little “Poopie Bear” out of bed if his nose was even remotely red.
Thus, at the first sign of symptoms, I did what most boys in my position would do. I rolled onto my side and hollered, “Mama!” using the same voice I’d use if I were being eaten alive by mountain lions.
Mama would come running up the stairs—two steps at a time. She’d find me in bed, looking like I’d been shot with a giraffe tranquilizer.
She’d touch my forehead. I would moan. Maybe work up a few tears. You know, put some heart into it.
“I feel sick,” I’d say.
She’d take my pulse and declare, "You’re staying home.”
And I knew I was on Easy Street. The bed became my home. Spider-Man underpants became my wardrobe.…