Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sweet and Sour Diseases

Photo from:   acme of Flickr
As I've mentioned previously, I am not the most confident person when it comes to health. I mean, I’m not some caveperson huddling in the back and flinching from the shadows the fire throws on the wall. I don’t view doctor’s prescribing antibiotics as some sort of magic. What I’m saying is, I’m not exactly a medical expert, but I understand enough about basic science that the concept of medicine to me isn’t some dangerous voodoo that mortals need not meddle in. Now computers, that’s a different story. (My friend, the computer engineer, is basically a digital wizard in my eyes.)

Still, there’s something about the microscopic world, something about something so powerful being intangible and difficult to control, that I get the antsies whenever I think about disease or infection or other things of that nature.

Which leads me to being out with my wife over the weekend.

It was a fine weekend. My wife insisted that we go to JC Penny’s--partially because her wallet had decided to play this fun little game called “stab the owner, and partially because they just ran a new ad supporting gay marriage and my wife wanted to support their support...this parenthetical statement is incredibly long now, isn’t it?--and after we finished with that, we decided to walk to the fro-yo place down the road and get dessert. However, a group of rowdy teenagers showed up, and we decided to walk to the food court to eat our fro-yo in peace.

The moment we entered the food court, my nose began to play a lovely waltz with the local Chinese restaurant. It’s not good Chinese food, but sometimes, you just want cheap, shitty Chinese food, y’know? So, after I convinced my wife that this was something that I had to have, we wandered over where I piled my plate high with blood-red sweet-and-sour chicken.

Something like 10 minutes later, I was full and kinda sick, but not sorry.

It turned cold on the way back to the car, we we made the last leg of our journey in a rush. We jumped into the car and cranked the heater all the way. It was then that I noticed a little smudge on my hand, a little red smear. Without thinking I stuck out my tongue and took a big solid lick.

Instead of the tangy, sweet flavor of sweet and sour sauce, my mouth was assaulted with a metallic, irony taste, and my brain immediately began screaming, BLOODBLOODOHMYGODIJUSTLICKEDBLOODSWEETBABYCHRIST!!!!

I tried to play it cool, but my wife could tell something was wrong. I was really tense and not talkative. All I could imagine was some AIDS ridden hobo had smeared his blood on a public surface and now I was infected--all because I thought I was licking some dried sweet and sour sauce.

Eventually, my wife pulled the confession out of me:

“What’s wrong with you? You’re acting weird, even for you.”

“I think I have AIDS.”


“I just licked what I thought was sweet and sour sauce off my hand, but it didn't taste like sweet and sour sauce and I think it was blood, and now I may have AIDS.”

“You know that you’re ridiculous, right?”

“I’m just saying, what if it was hobo blood or something? I should go get my blood tested right now!”

“Well, if you did have AIDS, that’s something I would definitely want to know. Being your wife and all.”

Ooooohhhhhh, GOD!

“Oh, shut up. You’re fine. You don’t have AIDS. Or sweet and sour AIDS, you weirdo.”

I want to stress that I’m not mocking people with AIDS. I'm mocking my ridiculous reaction to the most mundane of situations when illness is involved. The other day I scratched one of my fingers on the bathtub faucet washing my hair (like a boss) and spent the entire day thinking I had tetanus.

I hear they just cured a baby that had AIDS. This is fantastic, especially for people like me who live in fear of accidentally getting an incurable disease from our sweet-and-sour Chinese chicken.