Don’t Count Your Curses



If I were locked away in solitary confinement, with no connection to the outside world, I would always know when it was my birthday. It would be the one time a year I either became terribly ill or my body fell apart in a disconcerting manner.

Every year, just before my birthday, my body stages a minor revolt in the form of some physical issue or illness. There have been pulled backs, flus, chicken pox, ear infections, and any number of colds and stomach bugs. It’s like a yearly biblical plague.

This year it’s a cold, and it’s going to be a bad one. I feel it begin manifesting itself on Friday, two days before my birthday. It’s gearing up as I head out to the airport to pick up a visiting friend. A pain is rising up my neck like a snake. This is accompanied by a tickle in the back of my throat that I can’t seem to placate. No good. The clincher comes when I cough up a small woodland animal after leaving the pub that evening. Nothing green coming out of the back of your throat can be good.

And, as we head up the hill to my flat, I let out a big woe is me.

I don’t know why my body does this, but it happens with such yearly consistency that there has to be some motive behind it. I wonder if my body wants to let me know on a yearly basis just how mortal I am. Maybe it’s a birthday gift. Here you are, increasingly un-young man, the gift of psoriasis. Who knows?

Though I am having a lovely time with my friend, I am quite irked at my yearly illness. It’s right on schedule, annoying me as I walk around showing my friend Prague’s sites. Why the hell couldn’t I be illness free for this weekend of all weekends? While coughing up things advancing exponentially in their size, disturbing color, and solidity, I get the occasional glimpse into tomorrow’s (Sunday morning’s) terrible reality. I’ll be sick, hungover, and forty-one years old. Blurgh.

We arrive at the pub and friends start arriving. In an hour, there are gifts, shots, ribs, and beef on the table. There is almost literally nothing wrong with my world, except for the tiniest cold. And as the night continues and fun and shenanigans are had by all, I wonder if my October sickness isn’t my body teaching me a yearly birthday lesson.

I have long had the peculiar ability to focus on minor inconvenience rather than on the overwhelming positives that I am fortunate enough to enjoy in my life. Bad music coming from a neighbor’s flat can sour an otherwise wonderful day reading on the couch. Constantly flicking a mouth ulcer with my tongue can spoil a day at the beach.

Was I really going to let a minor illness ruin a day of friends and fun.

This year, perhaps more than others, I am very thankful for the things I have. Friends. A job I like. A nice home. A family I love. Perhaps considering those things puts the occasional sneeze and couch into perspective. As the rounds of Becherovka and Gambrinus assault the table, and a group of wonderful people drink and laugh and tell stories long into the night, I figure I’ll deal with it on Sunday.

  1. #1 by angela galeone on October 13, 2015 - 4:23 am

    Damien this problem must be genetic. happens to me too. Every year, without fail! Love this peice.

  2. #2 by angela galeone on October 13, 2015 - 4:24 am

    Good piece of writing!

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