Thursday, December 21, 2006

Differences of Degrees and Kinds

Father Goof has been offline for a bit. First there was the year-end at work, and then Father Goof was hit by the Martian Death Flu. At its peak, Father Goof ran a temperature of 104. Apparently that is very bad for adults (could result in brain damage - although I ran a system check, I still remember the 1979 World Series Lineups). When the fever finally broke and went down to 102 I felt terrific. I wish I had dragged myself into the HMO when my fever was at its peak – then I could have won the daily jackpot. I went too late and got nothing while my feverish son at least got a sticker.

We’ve been doing sick stuff together. We take our temperatures together and hope they match – then we are temperature buddies.

For Hanukkah I got a pair of fedoras (exactly what I wanted, one for every occasion). With my fever, I’ve been wearing them indoors (nothing like a grown man limping around in his pajamas and a fedora and whining to make a wife wonder how her life went so wrong.) My son wears the other hat and we are the “Hat Squad” together. Sometimes we are cowboys. Sometimes we are detectives. Sometimes we pull the brims down to just over our eyes and stare at mom. She’d take the hats away, but even five minutes of “Hat Squad” exhausts me and I have to lie down.

As in many things, my son has it much better than I do. I remember staying home from school sick. It was so boring. Pre-cable TV choices were usually re-runs of “Bewitched” or “My Three Sons” (shows that are only funny through the lenses of post-modern irony – which I did not possess in elementary school) and public television, which usually had the most boring documentary the BBC ever made on one channel, and “Mr. Rogers” on another. (As a kid, I found Mr. Rogers dorky and tedious. As an adult, I urge my kids to watch so I can bask in the late Fred Rogers’ warmth and generosity. His sense of calm and silence are vastly underappreciated by children and desperately needed by grown-ups.)

I usually ended up reading, in which case I might as well have stayed at school.

Now there are dozens of channels. There were quality dramas and sitcoms throughout the day. Comedy Central thoughtfully airs the “Daily Show” several times as well. There were also several good full-length movies on. Unfortunately, when you have the Martian Death Flu, even watching TV takes too much effort.

But no matter what the progress, or what may yet be proved, the simple facts of life are such, they cannot be removed. The fundamental things apply. The drink for sick kids is ginger ale dry.

All parents always keep a bottle of store-brand ginger ale on hand. So I broke out the ginger ale - it may have been the same bottle. It was flat, just like I remembered it. But my son was game because a parent was actually giving him soda (just like me at that age.) But for me it wasn't potable, so I used it to teach him to do shots. So we sat in our fedoras, our eyes tearing with conjunctivitis, downing glass after tiny glass of memories. Then, everything went black.

My son drank me under the table.