It was about 10 days into my sick-stravaganza (after a while, you just have to try to have fun with these things) that I really started questioning my whole “Who needs doctors when you’ve got muscles?” philosophy.
It was around this time I also realized I didn’t actually have many muscles.
Trust me: It was a tough week.
But it all started so small. You wake up one morning with a tiny sore throat, maybe a little smidge of congestion and the usual skoach of all-consuming, debilitating malaise. And before you know it, you’re a week-and-a-half into a cold you can’t seem to shake. That’s when, it’s only natural, you start narrowing the reasons for this nightmare down to the only logical conclusion — which, obviously, is that you’re a goner. Dying. Done-zo.
What’s the point of even going to a doctor at this point? you wonder. All he’d do is tell me what I already know. And besides, today’s technology could never detect the rare, super-strand of virus I’m carrying. Better start the grieving process now. Goodbye, cruel world! I hardly knew ye …
(Fun fact: Being this close to death makes you 11 times more likely to use Old English words, like “ye,” during inner monologues. Crazy, right?)
But a guy like me, I’m a born fighter. I also fancy myself something of a junior physician, graduated with honors from the University of Life. What’s that second diploma on my wall, you ask? Oh, that’s just a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks.
Translation: I was going to beat this thing.
The problem was, this particular illness just didn’t make any sense; I was doing everything right. I knew from TV that I should drink lots of fluids, and so I made sure to carry a flask of hard liquor around with me everywhere I went. And like any enlightened thinker, I knew the real secret wasn’t any silly drug; it was homeopathics. I needed sun. I needed to sweat out the toxins. I needed to will the germs out of my system with forced positivity and fierce determination: “The power of Mike compels you!”
The longer the sickness endured, though, the more I started daydreaming of an easier out.
I’m a big fantasy baseball guy, which kept reminding me of just how sweet these ballplayers have it. They get some ridiculous ailment, like back spasms — a condition I’m convinced is completely made up — and they get to ride the pine for a couple weeks without ever missing a paycheck.
Me? I’m popping medicated cough drops like candy during City Commission meetings, trying to keep my eyes open and my sniffles down so I can work nice and late in order to meet deadline. All so as not to disapoint the legions of loyal readers who get so excited for new editions of the Ormond Beach Observer every Thursday that they can barely sleep Wednesday nighs.
We all have our crosses to bear.
But all the while, I kept imagining my name in lights, in an injury-report blurb in this week’s paper: “Mike Cavaliere (assoc. ed.) was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with flu-like symptoms Thursday, according to Managing Editor Brian McMillan. Cavaliere (throat) will take typing practice Sunday, then write a rehab story for a college newspaper next week before being assessed by the staff’s publisher to establish an expected date of his return.”
Some kids grow up with dreams of one day playing for a big league club. Me? I dream of sitting on a big league club’s bench, nursing my back spasms and counting piles of unearned money.
I know, I know, it’s crazy. But my mother always taught me to dream big, and I won’t apologize for that. “This is America,” she’d say. “Your grandparents didn’t paddle across oceans in a canoe to get here just for to dillydally and never meet your potential.”
Inspiring words. Now you understand why I went for that second diploma.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
What do you think of the leadership shift at the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce? Got cool Fourth of July plans? Send your thoughts of any of this week’s stories, or any other relevant city issues, to Associate Editor Mike Cavaliere, at [email protected]
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR