Ready for yet another holiday

So another holiday has come and gone, and once again I hardly had any time to relax. I managed to squeeze in a few quick naps and one afternoon where I watched TV golf, but otherwise it was the usual homeowner’s chores of mowing grass, paying bills and calculating the mortgage interest that would accrue over the weekend.

I’ve complained before in this space about how unevenly holidays have been scheduled on the calendar. This particular span between Independence Day and Labor Day, at about eight weeks, is what all the gaps should be if we averaged them out on some sort of metric holiday system. A little more cooperation among our cultural icons on when they came and passed would’ve been tremendously convenient – if the births of Lincoln, the Christ Child, America and the modern labor movement, and the deaths of Thanksgiving turkeys and certain saviors were more comprehensively planned, we’d all be a lot better rested throughout the year.

As it is, we have to rely on vacation time to provide the extended break needed to fully recharge our batteries. In my family, we’re still trying to figure out when we’ll have the time and money to take a trip before my son heads off for college at the end of August. Right now, we’re debating between the merits of a 12-hour train ride to Manhattan versus a flight from Charlotte to Milwaukee with intermediate stops in Atlanta, back to Charlotte, and then on to Detroit. While both those options could result in unprecedented fun, neither sounds very rejuvenating.

That’s why I’m currently in the market for an extended illness. I’ve been generally healthy throughout my adult life, but do recall quite fondly those instances when I was laid up on the sofa for a week or so. It was great to lounge about in an opioid-induced haze, my wife asking if she could get me anything, my work calling to check on my well-being, my son too considerate to commandeer the TV for the battles between Halo’s Master Chief and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob that otherwise dominate our screen. It’s only in this debilitated state that I can spend all my waking hours watching back-to-back Rob Schneider movies instead of feeling I should be hunting, gathering, repairing the gutters, or possibly all three at once.

I still remember when, as a young boy of ten, I contemplated jumping off the roof of my parents’ house to avoid an especially daunting P.E. segment (I think it was either square-dancing or tumbling, though my rendition of each was about the same). Obviously, I’m a lot more mature now and would need to carefully target any intentionally initiated infirmity so it didn’t put me out indefinitely.

I’m trying to imagine which of all the maladies available would best suit my 55-year-old body and my high-deductible health insurance. Appendages that are safely apart from the critical functions of the core torso would seem like a good choice. But two of the few hobbies I do have – running and writing – depend on healthy limbs, and I’d hate to give up those activities, even temporarily. Maybe I could spare a toe or two without causing too much impact on my stride.

I guess the head is technically an appendage too, though it seems like something you don’t want to mess around with. I’ve already had extended absences due to dental surgery, skin cancer on my ear and a nasty sinus infection, so I guess I’d be stretching my luck to hope for a brain aneurysm or having one of my eyes pop out. The idea is not to end up permanently disabled; I just want to make a dent in that backlog of Smithsonian Channel “Street Monkey” episodes jamming up the DVR, and that would take twice as long to do with only one eye.

If I did look to the torso for something to go wrong, I’m not foolish enough to think any of the major organs would be a good choice. I’ve always had good check-ups on my heart and, from what I understand, that’s the most expensive transplant you can get, so that’s out. My lungs are clear and strong since I’ve never smoked, and starting now would take forever to create an incapacitating impact. The gastrointestinal tract wouldn’t work well for me either, since heavy snacking would likely be a key part of any couch-camping and Pringles just aren’t the same when pressed into a mash and forced through a tube. I don’t even know what the liver does, though I know the ones belonging to cows and chickens don’t taste very good even when fried, so they must be important. I’ve heard of hernia repair but it sounds like something that would take place in a garage, and I’m sure my ingual warranty is up.

I’ve got it! The appendix! I had a coworker knocked out for just about a week once with appendicitis, and he eventually had a complete recovery. I understand there’s some initial discomfort when the thing first flares – I believe his words were something like “I thought I was going to die” – and it can take a few unpleasant hours to make a proper diagnosis. Once they do figure it out and perform the surgery to remove the throbbing stub, I believe you wake up in the hospital surrounded by flowers, drinks with “bendy” straws, and opportunities to ride around in wheelchairs. Recuperation at home lasts about four or five days and, with any luck, I could extend that with a weekend.

The major shortcoming in this plan, of course, is how to get appendicitis. I don’t think it’s anything you can inflict from the outside, no matter how long a pencil you might be able to find. Because it’s a body part we don’t even need, there hasn’t been much research into preventing its onset, so it’s not like I can do whatever the opposite of practicing good appendix health would be. I suppose I could fake an attack and, by the time they got inside and found it to be normal, I’d still have to recover from the surgery. But at that point, they’d probably just take it out to be spiteful.

I wonder if they let you keep the appendix. If I need another couch vacation and opt for a toe removal, I could use it as a makeshift prosthetic.


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7 Responses to “Ready for yet another holiday”

  1. delicate flower Says:

    How about an good old fashioned case of the vapours… they couldn’t fault you for having a ‘woman’s’ malady ’cause you could sue them for sexual harrassment.. You just feel a little puny, faint-like, delicate, prone to weeping and you’ll need some couch time to recover. The downside is you’ll probably want to spend a little time on the *O* Channel…..

  2. tychy Says:

    if you smoke a lot of marijuana, you can get schizophrenia. i’m not sure if that’s permanent tho. it would give your writing an edgy, gritty quality.

  3. tom1950 Says:

    As Tychy says, schizophrenia is a good thing. This way you could get in a fight with yourself and punch out a couple of teeth – useful for major dental surgery recuperation. But then, you’d probably argue about what channel to watch and start all over again.


  4. karenlgj Says:

    I vote for some sort of sexual malady. Then, no one would ask questions. There would just be the whispers and stares…

  5. wrjones Says:

    Bad back. Very tricky for someone to pin you down and out and out call you a liar. Practice your grimace. If you get really good at it the wife will pour the whiskey down your throat – much to painful for you to tip the glass yourself. “Honey could you change the channel for me?”

  6. The Fark Knight Says:

    You can always go for a case of the shakes too. “I’m perfectly fine and I’m willing to do work, but my hands just won’t stop shaking!!” Mebbe even let a shrink or two get into the act to make it look legit.

    They always stop and start of their own accord, so once you are a certified shakes patient, they can re-start anytime.

    -Fark Knight

  7. nayfray Says:

    Seems to me you’re about the right age for male menopause (mental-pause as Archie Bunker said it–gave Edith 5 minutes to get through it too!)

    With menopause, you not only have an array of symptoms to choose from, you might even get a new sports car out of it!

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