Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Flu Fun

FatherGoof has the flu. I like it more than I should because MamaGoof takes such good care of me – making me soup, bringing me tea, fluffing my pillow. I may never get better. I know I’m lucky, but I’m also not used to this. My mom didn’t do sick. She would always say, “I’m no Florence Nightingale.”

True enough, more like Florence Meaningale.

Schools wouldn’t let us attend with fevers. So, forced to keep up home, my mother would leave us home, with nothing but broadcast television and flat gingerale. (The healing powers of old episodes of Bewitched and My Three Sons have not been adequately explored in medical research – after a couple hours of that I couldn’t wait to get back to school and fail a couple of quizzes.)

I believe this kind of treatment would now, in these gentler and more civilized times, result in the children being placed in the productive custody of social services. The irony being that my mother was a social worker with social services. But, as a good Trotskyite, she no doubt felt nursing ill family members was a bourgeois affectation. Her children, with the many advantages of their class had no need for extra treatment, whereas her impoverished charges at work required her ministrations. Besides, it was a chance to do some fieldwork for the cause. (I’m sure exposure to the Marxist dialectic helped a lot of kids get better, I’d guess 10 minutes of Marx equals an episode of The Little Rascals in healing properties).

Besides, mom would tell me, all illness (clearly the product of poor proletariat working conditions) would be eliminated after the revolution came.

So being sick as a grown-up is better than it should be. But because it is the flu I am trying to stay away from my kids. I really miss them and my daughter is upset that she can’t hug me. That really makes me want to get better.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tragedy Averted: A Tale of Arms

The other day my daughter hurt herself on the monkey bars (with
evolution you win some and you lose some – she cannot swing like our
hairier forebears.) This entailed professional consultation with
doctors (we decided to skip the lawyers and not sue.)

But I had class, so my wife had to take my son with her to the medical
center – thankfully he has gone through the reading transformation.
As long as he has an interesting book – he isn’t bored. I rushed
over from school and found my son waiting outside the X-Ray room,
grinning. I went in to see his unhappy sister and my also unhappy
wife. GoofGirl wouldn’t move her arm in the desired positions for the
X-Ray. This is very bad. First, I don’t want my daughter suffering.
Second, if she has actually broken her arm our life becomes much less
good until it heals. Baths, meals, everything will become
twenty-times the hassle it already is – and we are talking about a
five year-old girl here, so everything is already a hassle!

I walk out grimly, and tell my son about my concerns. He looks at me
with a smile and says, “Dad, there’s one good thing.”

“What’s that,” I ask distracted.

“Remember when you first met mommy and you told me she worked in a
building with labs and that some of the labs had radioactive
material,” he hasn’t paused for a breath yet, this is how little boys
talk, “and you kept asking mommy if she could get you into the lab to
lick something radioactive and get super-powers and mommy wouldn’t let
you even though you showed her Incredible Hulk comics to prove


“Well here we are,” he said and pointed at the radiation sign on the
door of the X-Ray room, “Now you can get your super-powers.

And he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I couldn’t help but join in.

Mom sent us upstairs to get flu shots – as long as we were there.
This took the edge off of his humor. While sitting in the waiting
area I told him my cel-phone could freeze time. He said it couldn’t. So I would press a button and tell him I had just stopped time, but he couldn’t tell because he had been stopped with it.

We spent a while arguing about whether or not he needed a flu shot.

“Remember the time we both got sick and we played temperature buddies?” I asked.

“Yeah, that was great.”

“Not for me it wasn’t, you are getting a flu shot.”

I went first. While the prepped me he chatted about football with the technician. When I was ready he kept looking at the rather long needle. “Don’t look at the needle, look at my face. You will see that I barely react because it doesn’t really hurt.”

He was skeptical – any needle that long and nasty has to hurt. He watched the needle anyway but when it was his turn he went through it without a whimper. Then we went back to the waiting area. We could have gone home, but he wanted to wait and see if his sister was ok. Also, the The Jetsons were on the TV.

His sister bounced out, having been examined and getting her flu shot. She said her arm hurt – but not because of the monkey bar incident – because of the flu shot. Apparently while manipulating her arm to get the right X-Ray angle, something popped back into place.

At home it was late and the kids had to go right to bed. They said they were too tired to get into their pajamas, so I had to do it manually. While doing this, they laughed and said it was just like on The Jetsons. A new inside family joke is born.