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Published on December 27th, 2013 | by Richard Black


Birthday Parties, Whereabouts of the Next Plague and a Very Merry Christmas

In addition to other gifts Darcy and the wife (let’s call her Mrs. Black) got the flu for Christmas. Disease seems to be an ongoing theme for the Holidays, one that we’ll all be enjoying for the foreseeable future until I can get Darcy to cover her mouth when she coughs or stop going to school.

Mrs. Black has a knack for catching the flu during the Holidays. In her twenties she hosted Christmas at her apartment, cooked a beef casserole and then came down with a delightful stomach bug. To this day even the thought of the dish will make her gag twice and then run for the nearest available toilet at a speed that would put most NFL receivers to shame.

Having a toddler, particularly a toddler in school, is really a means to illness. Aside from a lengthy stay at an ICU unit in Paraguay or tromping around rice paddies in Cambodia i cannot recommend a better way to contract disease.

Before the plague visited my daughter and wife I came down with a milder form of the bug, one that ripped through my colon like a bowling ball and caused me to hack up a few pints of phlegm in the most amazing array of colors and viscosity.

I knew it was going to happen and I’m happy, ecstatic even, that I didn’t come down with some other more horrible infection that ravaged my frail immune system.

Here’s why.

A few days before Christmas one of my friends invited us to take part in their twin daughter’s birthday celebration. The party was to occur at a place called Monkey Joes. For those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, Monkey Joes specializes in providing toddlers a place to play and bounce around in a 30,000 square foot warehouse filled with various inflated castles, slides, punji stick traps and anything else a small child would care to barf, cry or snot on.

“It’s like lord of the flies on inflatable canvas with cholera,” my wife said and I couldn’t disagree. I’m not a betting man but if I were I’d put my money on Monkey Joes for the next super plague. I’ve only been to the place three times in my life and after each and every visit I have come down with a bout of nastiness that has brought me to the brink of death.

And so when my good friend hosting the event greeted me in a Hazmat suit and thanked me for being there I shook his hand and told him he was a sadistic bastard.

He told me to stop being such a pussy, directed me to a five gallon drum of hand sanitizer and asked me to man the fuck up, which I did. I slathered every portion of my body that wasn’t covered in clothing, and a few that were, in antibiotic gunk every thirty minutes and then gargled it for good measure before I left.

It didn’t matter, in my experience these sorts of measures rarely do.

Despite practically bathing in hand sanitizer at every opportunity I came down with a mild form of…something. My throat hurt but then it generally does around this time of year. In an effort to keep from stabbing people I usually pick up smoking in an effort to retain my usual equanimity. I became lethargic as well but, then again, I generally have the motivation of a mentally challenged tree sloth in the winter months and that fever may have really been just the result of a massive hangover.

Suffice it to say that I was suffering.

Darcy caught the snotfest plague but, being three and pretty much indestructible she spent a good four hours being miserable before carrying on with her regular duties; undressing dolls, displaying them on the stairs, the toilet seat or anywhere else one would reasonably expect to find a toy under foot.

Mrs. Black was less fortunate and caught the full blown version of the hacking phlegmy mess. Throughout Christmas day she remained on the couch, gasping for breath as I passed in and out of consciousness having been up until four in the morning wrapping presents.

With any luck the contraption won’t fall apart, the bike for Darcy that is, and not my daughter or my marriage come to think of it.

Darcy has a helmet and Mrs. Black…Well Mrs. Black and I have each other.



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