The Cure For Any Young Man's Ills.
This weekend I was struck down with something akin to the flu. I’d like to say it was the Plague, since that is both a humorously unusual ailment to suffer “these days” and it certainly makes a story a billion times more interesting. Besides, Girl On The Contrary was recently stricken with the Plague just a few weeks ago and it just doesn’t do for someone like me to try to get a piece of that action. It’s like plagiarism and that, my friends, is NOT how I roll.
I am steadily recovering now thanks to my own personal Florence Nightingale. The aches in my body have been dulled by the pharmaceuticals she has so kindly urged and reminded me to take and I have nevertheless been in high spirits thanks to her. As I sit here tonight sipping my chai and smirking as the flu now flails wildly in its death throes, I cast my mind back over the years – particularly to the times when I have been ill (and of course, some of the times when the words and actions have given that impression but it was blatantly obvious that there was nothing wrong at all).
While I was growing up I had my share of illness – both real and imagined. When I was actually sick of course I was kept at home, where I generally languished in my pyjamas for most of the day but still managed to watch what is now considered an unhealthy amount of daytime television and I was carefully watched by my Mum until I was old enough to fend for myself. When the illness was about 96% imagination (and 4% the chocolate biscuit I snuck in after bedtime) though, it was often an even chance that I’d be sent to school instead of being allowed to stay home.
I was a lucky kid when I got to stay home. I was often the recipient of not only medicine that tasted like strawberries or bananas but also magnificent colouring books, with intricate pictures on each page that kept me absorbed for hours. I’m sure this was just a distraction for me so that my Mum could do the things that she wanted or needed to do without my incessant bothering, but she knew exactly how to keep me entertained.
In 1984 I was sick. Not for the whole year mind, but for at least one day. Luckily it wasn’t very serious (actually, now that I think about it, it was 4% chocolate biscuit…) but my Mum must have been in a good mood because not only did she let me stay home, she took me out with her when she went to the newsagent. While she took care of her business, I was looking at the colouring and activity books and my gaze fell upon perhaps THE single most awesome activity book of the year. It was based on the movie Dune which had been released and it wasn’t the colouring that drew my attention. This book offered much more – the chance to cut out and create objects from the movie. I was awestruck.
My Mum bought me that book and I set to work with scissors, glue and sticky tape as soon as we got home. Unfortunately I wasn’t the engineer I thought I was and too many of the cardboard and paper constructions that began with such energy soon met their twisted, double-glued demise as I tried so hard to create perfect objects “as seen in the movie”.
I never got to wear that Sardaukar Mask. Still, I loved that book.
Nowadays when I don’t feel very well, I no longer turn to cut-out-activity books or jumbo books of colouring delight. Maybe I should get back into it. They just seem so hard to find in this digital age.
What helps you through your sick days?