Saturday, November 19, 2011
I thought I'd talk about how much fun it was to be sick for a week. I mean that literally...on some level it actually was fun.
When I realized the sickness was serious, when I shivered through two or three freezing, sweaty, virtually sleepless nights, I did what I always do in situations like that and went into my Ralph Phillips/Calvin and Hobbes routine where I psyched my self into believing that I was at death's door. Boy, did I have fantasies!
What fantasies? Well there was the one where I gave a brave speech to the U.N. from my deathbed which had been halled onto the stage of the General Assembly pavilion . The audience cried as I took them through anecdotes of the ups and downs of my tumultuous life. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Everyone saw himself, indeed the whole pathos and greatness of the human condition reflected in my stories. I bowed my head humbly to accept a standing ovation.
And my family? That was another fantasy. Tearfully they gathered round my bedside while grief stricken plantation workers sang spirituals under the Magnolias outside my window. My children bade me goodbye and fessed up to lending my Halloween masks to their stupid friends when I wasn't looking. They assured me that they'd memorized every word of my priceless lectures, and would pass the precious-as-rubies words to their own children when they came along.
Last of all was my wife. With tears flowing down her cheeks she forgave me for not being a rich doctor or a lawyer, and admitted that I was probably the better cook. She confessed that all my tirades against Bill Gates and Japanese engineers were justified, and that she had secretly kept scrupulous notes so that what I said could be shared with the world in a posthumous book.
No, I didn't fantasize about being levitated up into heaven in flowing white robes, that's silly, but I did imagine friends and visitors to this site swamping my family with telegrams claiming that I had transformed the animation industry. A collection was gotten up to install a bench of meditation and remembrance of me in the middle of the highway, at the juncture of the 101 and the 405, where I had spent so many unwilling hours in life.
I could go on, but you get the idea. When the flu finally abated, I was slowly brought back to the real world. After grappling for long hours on my back with the great philosophical issues, after listening to the creaks in the lonely house made by the wind and the rattling pipes, after watching endless TV documentaries in which Australians reached into Python holes, I made my way into the blinding sunlight of the workaday world.
I felt like I had been away in a foreign country, and I had.