[lit-ideas] Re: Inflewenza

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 20:19:16 -0700

The role viruses play in my life cannot be normal, else there would be lyric poets out writing tragedies in couplets about sore throats and dry eyes. Most people, and by "most" I mean of course those in my intimate circle, get "colds" and shrug them off. I have been known to do this, but more common is the week I'm passing, in which a turn for the worse and dire consequences seem to wait in the wings. The thing began after a pretty good weekend, one in which I dared to congratulate myself on overcoming jet lag sufficiently well to play two tennis matches and win. On Monday I felt ill. On Tuesday, worse. I thought nothing, did little, passed bad nights. Yesterday I drove my wife to the airport and what? Met with a colleague for a beer. That was the entire list of achievements. My wife would say, "Ah!" No more. She might be right, but when I'm ill with a sore throat, beer is more tempting than it usually is. I was in bed by what, nine? Woke to no voice, a terrible throat, near complete desire to do nothing. Which is pretty much what I've done since the little beasts first began their inner rampage.

What could stir a person from such desire? Ants. We had the carpenter ant people to the house before I left. I was unimpressed by the fellow who came and charged a hundred dollars for fifteen minutes worth of spraying "product." So, apparently, were the ants. Today I went to the store and bought bait, with which this evening the most vigorous amongst them will return to the nest proclaiming that this scavenging business is much easier than the old guys suggested. One hopes.

How have I occupied the moments between naps? Reading a history of the Battle of Britain. Were it not for the fact that people keep getting killed in awful ways, it could well be an account of almost any academic fight: one side knows what it wants to do, but doesn't realize that the other side has superior tactics. The other side-- that would be the Germans--is confused about what it wants to achieve, and how. So with at least three people doing the planning and direction, that side lurches from one notion to another. Neither side is capable of assessing the other's strengths and weaknesses. Eventually Hitler, who was not very keen on the idea of invading Britain, reminds them that the true target is the Soviet Union and-- here I'm reminded of playgrounds--they walk away from the person they were so intent on beating up.

I trust that the fact that these words seem to have coherence means tomorrow will be better and I may even manage to write some of the stuff I hope has been bottled up by nearly a month away from research themes. If I had been an early king of France, in the era of Charles the Fat and Charles the Bald and so on, I'd be David the Not-very- good-with-viruses. Probably that should be in caps. As should all of you courtiers.

Carry on.

David Ritchie,
DeLusion, Oregon

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