I’ve had a cold for almost two weeks. The worst part about having a cold is everybody knows just by talking to you, that you have a cold. I deal with the public a lot so I have been bombarded with
“you have a cold? or you think its allergies?”
“what are you taking?”
“how long have you had it?”
“you sound like, that lady, what was her name?”
It goes on and on. People LOVE to talk about colds. My mother will call
“you sound worse”
“you sound better”
“did you get the zycam?”
“are you drinking orange juice? You gotta drink orange juice. Shit, I got orange juice here, I’d give it to you if you were around”
If you're sick, you better be prepared to answer some God Damn questions.
If it’s not the questions, it’s the relaying of their own personal cold story or someone else they know that recently had a cold.
“I had that. Two weeks. Took me two weeks to get rid of it”
“this guy I know, he thought he had allergies, turns out he had pneumonia. No shit”
“last winter I had a cold for 3 weeks. The doctor couldn’t do anything just had to let it run its course. Then I broke my foot and got colitis. You know what colitis is?”
When I have a cold the last thing I want to do is chat. I want to be home in bed feeling sorry for myself. But no, I’m not sick enough to cancel my obligations. I’m sick but I’m not sick enough. I have to be sicker.
I’d rather have a bellyache. Then it’s up to me whether or not I tell people I’m not feeling well. As I kid I had a lot of bellyaches. Shit, I would get sent home from school with a bellyache. Half the time I just ate too much and I wanted to lie down but still, my belly hurt. As an adult I never fake sick. I never cancel shit claiming “I don’t feel good: even though I’m feeling perfectly fine. Faking sick is so much better than being sick. Faking sick is pulling a fast one on your community of people. And I never do it. I gotta start faking sick. THAT I would want to talk about. I would even strike up the conversation.
“Hey did you notice I wasn’t at work last week? I was sick. God I was so sick. You don't want to know what I had. I was bedridden. Nothing worse than Mother Nature telling you to lie in bed and watch TV for days. It was terrible. Do you have a cold?”
When I was younger I liked when I had obvious physical ailments. Once, a Queen bee stung me on the lip while I was sleeping. I woke up and the bee had its stinger in my lip, dead, hanging from my face. I rose from my bed trying to keep my head from moving, I went to wake up my mother who grumbled “go back to bed” so I did. Yes, I am an obedient good sleeper; I can fall back asleep with a cold dead insect hanging from my bottom lip. No problem. Needless to say my lip was swollen. I could not have been happier. I went to school with the dead bee in a see through sandwich bag. I didn’t wait for people to ask me what happened; I shook that bee in my friend’s faces and dove right into the story. Most people gasped when I told them my mother sent me back to bed with a dead bee on my lip but I pointed out the most impressive part, my obedience. To this day, I like to be acknowledged when I do what I’m told.
When I was ten I got sun poisoning in Florida. My face swelled up and had little bumps all over it and it was really itchy. We had to go to the emergency room while on vacation. My father was all pissed off he was missing time in the sun. I was annoyed because my itchy face made me lose my appetite and I really liked to eat. Especially on vacation. By the time we landed back in Boston, my face just looked red and flaky. Like a bad sunburn. I tried to tell people about my big bumpy face but, without being able to SEE it, well, it had less impact on the kids. At least I had my appetite back.
My cold seems better but as far as I’m concerned, I’m still sick.
I have to bartend and I have a few shows this week, I decided to take a preemptive approach to conversations about my cold. I ran into a friend earlier ( I almost wrote acquaintance but in the event the person reads this I want them to feel like they are more than an acquaintance even though I don’t know their last name)
Me: hey, how are you? I have a cold. Just took some decongestant and had a juice. So I’m addressing the situation. For all I know it could be allergies.
Him: That sucks! I’m late I gotta run. See ya
Me: See ya wouldn’t want to be ya
Him: Yeah well, your nose is running
Me: Guess I better catch it.
Him: Ha ok well, hope you feel better
Me: (as he walks away) you do, do ya?
He didn't bite. Attempt to keep ridiculous conversation going: FAILED
Everybody says they hope you feel better but nobody says “You know what, you should call in sick”
That’s all I’m really looking for, is for someone to tell me what to do.
Thanks for listening
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.