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Published on February 19th, 2014 | by Richard Black

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Feeling Fat, the Blame Game and Phlegm Fest 2014

At some point during the past few weeks I’ve begun to feel particularly corpulent. Don’t get me wrong I’m still gorgeous. I can even cinch my belt into the same notch I’ve been using for the past six months but now there’s a good inch and a half of stomach that wasn’t there a week ago.

It’s not easy to keep this (imagine me waving my hand over my body in an alluring manner) a 10 and God knows I try.

Instead of attacking he problem at it’s roots (my poor diet, questionable drinking habits and really questionable decisions of any sort over the past twenty some odd years) I’ve chosen to blame family and my few remaining friends for the extra pounds I’ve put on in the past two weeks. It may not gain me much good will but it’s cheaper than therapy and a whole hell of a lot easier than ruminating on my various soul and mind crushing flaws, at least in the short run.

The long and short of the matter is that Darcy and Laura, my child and wife, contracted a case of flu most of us only read about and I cared for them for about a week. I know it sounds dull and it was mind numbingly dull as well as vastly irritating for all three parties involved.  The Devil, as always, is in the details.

Darcy kicked off the week with the party-favor-mucus-blowing-snot disease for 72 hours. My wife quickly followed suit a few days later and came down with a dry hacking cough that kept our neighbors awake and, presumably poised to fire a handgun in our general direction, until the she fell into a NyQuil induced coma

I generously estimate that I had received about three hours of real sleep during the entire event and hadn’t left the house to do so much as pick up the paper or yell at a dog walker for not picking up his charges piles for almost eight days.  Up until then I’d always thought of myself as a homebody and for the most part I am.

The problem is that I like to be at home by myself.

Putting two other people into the mix for a few days isn’t all that bad but make it a week and I’m stomping around the house when someone forgets to replace the toilet paper, cursing at light bulbs that have the audacity to go out as well as many other endearing bits of behavior that will soon lead to a trial separation.

Now, imagine my demeanor under these conditions with a four year old who screams like a fire alarm when mucus explodes from her nose like clockwork every ten minutes and a woman (my wife) who’s every breath sounds like the last wheeze of a very large, very old and poorly maintained diesel engine.

I was fine for the first few days but after that things got…a bit hazy. I felt like Tom Hanks in the film Castaway only instead of Wilson I was stuck with two invalids a mermaid named Lollyfoosa and a life sized stuffed animal/Golden Retriever that is also named Lollyfoosa.

It was a very confusing time for me but now that it’s over I can look back on Phlegm Fest 2014 in equal parts ill will and humor.

For her part my wife, Laura, has no doubt filed my behavior for fodder in a future round of marriage counseling and if that’s the worst of the fallout from this horrible, horrible time then I should consider myself to be a lucky man.

The only casualty to speak of was Lollyfoosa the mermaid and, in all fairness, it probably wasn’t her fault. I’d really begun to enjoy her company and had taken to chatting with her in the downstairs living room as my wife and daughter were wheezeing and snorting their way to sleep during the wee hours of the morning.

“We’re going to have to get out of here one day soon,” I said to Lollyfoosa over a large glass of bourbon  deep into the sixth night of our ordeal.

“You can never leave,” she whispered back, “Never. Ever. Leave,” she said again as I did a double take.

Like going into battle, double coupon day at the grocery store or finding oneself in an imaginary conversation with a doll named Lollyfossa that has crossed the border into reality it’s hard to say how one will react to a stress filled situation until it happens.

I like to think I handled things in a manner befitting my capabilities and status as a pillar of the community. Lollyfossa the mermaid promptly went into the trash can outside, I finished my drink and brought Lollyfossa the stuffed animal up to the couch.

“I’m really glad we had this opportunity to get to know one another,” I said with heartfelt interest and a great sense of relief when she didn’t reply, “ We’ve really got to think about getting out of here some day soon…”


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