Lord have mercy. I've taken a couple of ass-kickings in my life, but nothing like this. Whatever this bug is that's going around, I got it in spades. My wife caught it first, and although I tried to be a dutiful husband, I kept what I thought to be a safe distance. No such luck. In fact, my holiday gift from Melody was the flu.
I self-medicated for a New Year's Eve gig with Eddie Harrison and the Shortkuts and then forgot the words to "Brown-Eyed Girl," which I've probably performed more times than Van Morrison. At midnight, I hid behind some equipment cases to avoid any drunken sloppy kisses — and that was just from the men. But I shook a lot of hands. The next day, wham. You've heard the old story about the man who was so sick, one minute he was afraid he was going to die, and the next minute he was afraid he wasn't?
I didn't mind the hallucinations. I dodged the flying monkeys, but then a leopard came into the room, leaped up on the bed, and started going for my ears. It took a second to realize that it was just Nancy, our giant, speckled pup. Then I began to cough. I coughed so hard that I was reminded of the funeral procession that was going down Lombardy Street in San Francisco. The hearse hit a bump, the doors flew open, and the casket began toppling end over end until it crashed through a drug store window and rolled right up to the pharmacy counter. The lid sprang open, the corpse sat up and asked the druggist, "Got anything to stop this coffin?"
In honor of Elvis' 80th birthday, my wife went out and bought some cough syrup for me. Back in the day, Elvis used to drink a little syrup. I remember sitting on the porch at Graceland, swilling cough medicine with Elvis while advising him on his career. Wait a minute, that might have been a dream. Speaking of Elvis, what possible reason could Graceland's new owners have for selling his planes? The Memphis Belle is gone, the Zippin Pippin is in Green Bay, and the Mid-South Coliseum has a date with the wrecking ball. Please leave Elvis' air force alone. Do they need the room for another gift shop selling Elvis shot glasses? This is why we can't have nice things.
But enough about Elvis ... What was that? I thought I saw light creeping through the blinds, so it's either dusk or dawn. I've lost track. The other night, the only thing that felt good on my throat was Pepsi, so I drank three cans. The sickness still enveloped me, but I was so jacked up on caffeine, I was able to stay wide awake to enjoy every moment. I've also been having wild dreams and earworms, which are songs that creep into your head and won't leave. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go, but I was too weak to stand. So, I'm sitting there with my head in my hands, when suddenly the theme from Rocky starts to play in my brain. I hate that song. All day, I'm hearing, "Feeling strong now," but the song only made me sicker. The next day, all I heard was Dolly Parton singing, "9 to 5," which wasn't quite as bad. I thought I might be getting a touch of that Eisenhower's disease. That's when you feel an unquenchable desire to go out and build interstates.
The flu has been rough, but we'll continue to binge-watch episodes of the Family Feud with Steve Harvey until we're better. And through all of this, I haven't lost my faith. I saw the Cowboys lose to Green Bay on a controversial last-minute call, sending Johnny Jones back to his billion-dollar football palace, and that horrid person, Chris Christie, and his lucky orange sweater back to either hell or New Jersey. So there is a God.