Thou Shall Not Get Sick

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October 4, 2011 by Manny Wordsmith

I think I’m catching a cold…

I was just bragging to a lovely young lady a couple weeks ago about how I was unable to get sick. I don’t even know why I said that. I’ll say some of the dumbest things to impress girls, but I never thought describing my immune system as a greek god would be one of them.

She still talks to me…so consider her impressed, even though my immunity to sickness is the farthest from the truth.

I’ve been sick many times.

I think the one of the worst times was when I was a kid and heading to Sandusky, Ohio, to visit my sister, who was dating some guy down there. The whole family came along and we stayed at her boyfriend’s parents house…which now that I think about it, sounds pretty weird. But there we were, all scattered around their basement, giggly about going to Cedar Point for the first time. My brother Victor and I got to sleep in the water-bed they had down there. It was my first time in a water-bed and the first time I realized I could get motion sick. Victor, who is my OLDER brother, thought it would be fun to make the bed move as much as possible.

I’m not sure how much of my brother’s antics played into how I felt in the morning, but I will continue to blame him for the horrible feelings I had. I mean throwing up, diarrhea, fever. The worst combination anyone could ask for. It was disgusting. I painted that bathroom. It was so bad that my mom was ready to cancel the outing to Cedar Point. But by 10 a.m., after 3 hours of hell, my fever cleared and I kept some food down. So off we went into 90 degree weather, immediately after I recovered from a morning of releasing all sorts of colorful things, via my ass and mouth.

My mom wanted me to stay in shady areas and not over exert myself. Everyone else ran around and rode rides and tried to get the best out of our late start. I was alright with it. I didn’t see a need for me to get sicker just for rides. Plus, I had figured that if I rode on anything, I’d just throw up…even if I wasn’t sick. I spent a lot of time in the arcade and on that air trolley that takes you over the park. I even got to watch an IMAX movie. It was when the technology first came out, so the movie they showed was just about animals and what not. Still cool though.

I was having a great time right up until the time the fever came back…with a vengeance.

It was like a revenge movie starring Jason Statham or Liam Neelson…in my body. Like somewhere between the Tekken matches in the arcade and the cotton candy I had after the IMAX safari, a child was kidnapped or a wife was killed and my poor adolescent body was to blame.

The destruction landed me in the infirmary. Things didn’t look good for me. My temp had reached about 103 and it wasn’t going down. I was going in and out of consciousness, crying, thinking I was the closest to death than I had ever been. My mom was reciting prayers and I was thinking of some really thoughtful last words. Maybe mention my dog or how fun it was finally getting to play Super Nintendo. But just when I thought things couldn’t get worse with my health…delirium set in.

I was hearing Disney songs that weren’t playing, seeing flowers that weren’t there. I was rambling about all sorts of crazy things. My sister felt she needed to do something to help cheer me up, bring me back to reality…if you will. Since she had worked at Cedar Point once before, she still knew some people. So out of the complete kindness of her heart she thought it would be a good idea to grab one of the Berenstain Bears that worked in the children’s park area. Remember them?

You see the one in the pink? That’s Sister Bear. She looks particularly grumpy in this depiction of her, but I’d imagine that she’s had better days. She’s the one that came in with my sister. Any other time…and I mean ANY OTHER TIME I would’ve been able to clearly tell the difference between cartoon characters, reality, and girl in a suit. But on that hot day, that hot, hot day in the Cedar Point infirmary, where I laid sweaty and pitiful, I thought the bear, who was wearing pink overalls and smiling at me, wasn’t a character at all…but an actual…real life…bear.

Delirium has a way of making things complicated…to say the least.

I was terrified beyond belief. Part of me was trying to connect the ends so I could understand what was going on.

“Fake, fake, fake, rake, rake, rake, reke, reke, reke, real, real, REAL!!!!”

But all I saw was a giant bear wearing pink, standing next to my sister…TALKING! I was frozen, clutching my mother’s arm, whispering to her slowly,

“Mom…don’t move…there’s a bear in here.”

I tried to keep it cool, but the more my sister talked the more I feared the bear would eat her. So I cried…hard. Really hard. I went hysterical pleading to my mom not to let the bear eat me or her. My sister was confused and scared for me too. No one knew how I couldn’t see the differences. There were no smartphones you could type delirium or bears into, no google in the 90s. After all that, I blacked out. Can’t remember much after that. I got better though and have never been back to Cedar point since. I think that was 94′.

So I can get sick. I’m not Wolverine. Next time I want to impress m’lady friend maybe I’ll just make up how many push-ups I can do and just hope she never asks for me to show her. Peace Fam!


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