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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Code in the Head

If I’m going to get sick, I usually get sick in January. It tends to be the coldest month here in South Florida, and this month is no exception.

Apparently this is something that I have inherited from my Dad. To prove that, I am re-typing one of his “Matter of Opinion” columns which appeared for 12 years from the mid-forties to late fifties in the St. Petersburg Evening Independent. They are now out of business, but they can probably still sue me for copyright infringement, so I thought I could at least acknowledge where it came from.

This is from (naturally, January) of 1949. So call me lazy for not writing today’s story. I openly admit to plagiarism. But I hope you realize it is a pain to re-type using Sick Dad dialect, verbatim. My spell checker is now on life support.

Aboud once a year, ad aboud dis tibe a year, I stard gedding a code id the head.

Ad when I ged a code in da head, dat’s all, brudder, dat’s all.

I cad eat. I cad sleeb.

Ad worst of all, I cad think.

I just sid here and look at the blank paper in the typewriter ad wish I was dead.

Thad’s the way I ab today. I got a code in the head.

Ad I wish I was dead.

All I can think aboud is the code in my head. Ad every tibe I dry to pull myself together and remember whad it was thad I was going to write here – all I cad think of is my code in the head and how miserable I am, and how I wish I was dead. Dead, dead, dead!

If I cud just disappear for the next day or so, if I cud just curl ub in bed I might get through this all right. But you can’t do that with a code in the head. If you say, “Well, I god a code in the head, and I think I’ll go home and go to bed,” everyone will say, “Ha, ai’d he the sissy – just a simple code in the head, and he goes home and goes to bed. Whad would he do if he was really sick?”

Thad’s the trouble with codes in the head. You’re neither sick enough to go to bed, nor well enough to acd like a human being. All you cad do is sid around and dry to act bright ad –

Wish you were dead – from a code in the head!

De biggest trouble wid a code in the head, is the fact thad everyone dries to cure you. Dis is a situation I’ve never bed able to understand.

If you dell someone you have naso-pharyngitis or a bilateral upper-respiratory infection, they’ll look ad you with amazement and say, “Great God, whad are you doing here. Ged to the hospital at once!”

But answer theb ad say, “Oh, I just god a code in the head, ad I’ll be all right in a couple of days,” ad dey will pud on their best bedside manner and say, “Well, what are you doing about id?”

(Plagiarist’s note: This “bedside manner” person was clearly my mother.)

Ad that does it!

If you dake the position (which you know is true) thad there is nothing thad will cure a code in the head, they’ll look at you with a patronizing smile and zay, “Well, why do’d you go over to the drugstore and get a box ob ‘Fifteeen-Way Cald Tablets,’ those will knock a code a-looping in one day.”

You explain dad you have daken “Fifteen-Way Cold Tablets” and all they did was to make your mouth dry and upset your stomach. And den they will look at you unbelievingly and say, “Well, I don’t know, but they’ll cure my cold in nothing flat. Never fail!”

You thank dem kindly for their interest, but you don’t go buy any code tablets, for you know that nothing will cure a code in the head but tibe –

Or death!

Ad then some jerk will come along and say, “Oh, you have a cold don’t you? Well I tell you what you do. Squeeze out a pitcher of grapefruit juice. Then you alternate. Drink a glass of grapefruit juice and then a glass of bicarbonate of soda.”

There are more cures for codes than there are people. Ad none of the cures are any good. I have daken everything for a code from abble juice to zemenol. I have drunk lemonade, rock-and-rye, Tom-and-Jerry and cascara. I have swallowed bromides, powders and cathartics. I have taken so many shots my hide looks like a sponge.

But nothing cures a code in the head–

Except tibe, or death.

But still there is something the world needs worse than a cure for a code in a head. It needs a cure for all the people who dry to dell you how to cure a code in the head.

I wish I was dead!

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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