Decongestant

Decongestant: (n) a substance that relieves mucus congestion of the upper respiratory tract.

I hate colds.

I am not alone in this, but they are a hazard for my profession.

I have spent my life using my voice in various capacities, and having that altered is at least annoying, if not costly.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the sooner I treat a cold, the better off I am.

This discovery was birthed during a particularly nasty head cold I had when I was a junior in high school. Being that particular age, I took no medications and certainly would never carry Kleenex in my pocket.

So one very cold day, when the study hall at school was overly warm, my nose began to run. I had nothing at all to stop the flow.

I had not taken a decongestant to dry me out.

Kleenex was for girls.

And unfortunately, the only thing available was the fuzzy sweater my brother had loaned to me, which had big, bushy sleeves.

I resisted for a long time.

I tried to breathe in deeply, sucking the nose flow back into my head.

I did a quick reach-up with my finger to push back the lava.

But it just kept coming.

Finally, in a complete breakdown, I lifted my sweater sleeve and quickly rubbed it across my nose, allowing all the furriness to absorb the “ick.”

I immediately reached down and tried to redistribute the human glue throughout the sweater so it wouldn’t be noticeable—and fortunately for me, the bell rang. I was able to run to the bathroom to blow my nose.

Being a teenager, I forgot all about the incident until a week later, when my brother put on the sweater and asked me what the deal was with the sleeve.

I could not tell him the truth.

It would not be healthy for his heart. (I don’t think he had a heart condition, but he could develop one.)

Being an adolescent and not quick-thinking on my feet, I replied, “Wear and tear?”

My brother looked at me, perplexed, then down at his clumpy, sticky sleeve. I don’t think he really wanted to know, so he accepted my explanation.

I have since learned that the power of a decongestant is that it dries you up so much that you don’t have to do embarrassing things to your clothing.

 

Croak

Croak: (slang) to die.

There is a general reluctance among the populace to admit to things deemed frailties.

I believe lots of individuals would cautiously, but freely, be tagged as “sex addicts.” Or if someone attributed the fault of “over-talented” to them, they would sheepishly hang their head but allow the assertion to remain unchallenged.

Yet I suspect a good number of human beings would be offended to accept the term “hypochondriac” if attributed to them.

Even when you’re in the presence of an admitted hypochondriac, he or she will insist that you are ill-informed and have not read up on their mysterious, unknown or unproven condition.

So I am going to step out and tell you that for most of my life I have battled being a hypochondriac.

From the time I was a nine-year-old boy, frightened to go to sleep because I thought I might swallow my tongue, to my early twenties, when I was trying to stay awake driving, and overdosed on the caffeine in No-Doze, and had to go to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, to any myriad of symptoms that might stumble my way, I am frighteningly susceptible to dwelling on them longer than they deserve.

As a father of young sons, I occasionally yelled at my children for getting colds—not because I was concerned about the pain they were experiencing or the discomfort of runny noses. No, I was just pissed because I was afraid I would get their cold, too.

I am not happy to report this to you, but if you spend all of your life wondering when you’re going to croak, then, in that brief season when it actually happens, you will be quite disappointed that you squandered the non-dying time.

I realize this.

I never thought I would live as long as I have.

So rather than wondering whether I’m going to live a lot longer, I have chosen to believe that I’m on borrowed time. In other words, “playing with house money.”

This makes me happy.

Because as exciting as it is to be alive, there is an extra thrill in knowing that by the grace of God, you’re cheating death.

 

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Convalescing

Convalescing: (v) to recover health and strength after illness

If you will allow me, I will outline the process:

  1. I am sick.

I am not just “under the weather.” I am not “fighting off something.” I am not struggling with allergies.

  1. I am prepared to receive assistance.

Having used up my favorite rabbit’s foot and gone through the Internet to try several homeopathic methods, I am not prepared to do what is necessary to get 
well.

  1. I will understand and honor the procedure.

Even though there are many medications for a cold and the flu, the old adage, “3 days coming, 3 days with you and 3 days leaving” is pretty much on point. The goal is to try to even those nine days out, into one common, more tolerable passage of misery.

  1. I will start doing things that keep me well, and begin convalescing toward better health in the future.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with lung cancer. He wanted prayer to be healed. I saw nothing wrong with that, so I joined in agreement. Three days later, when nothing got better, I walked into his room and he was smoking cigarettes again. I said, “What the hell?”

He replied, “The damage is already done. Might as well enjoy my exit.”

If you’re not ready for your exit, start convalescing by treating your ailments for what they are, and then find ways, through good health, good eating and good attitudes, to scare them away.

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Albany

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Albany: (n) the capital of New York, in the eastern part of the state, on the western bank of the Hudson River, pop. 93,658.

I think it was about three years ago.

My son and daughter-in-law were looking to make a fresh start in their film career by moving to some area of the country they had not been before, bouncing off of a very successful adventure in our home town.

There were some brief discussions about landing spots, but my daughter-in-law quickly settled for Upper State New York–specifically Albany.

I was familiar with Upper State and summarized to her my experience, using two examples. I told her that Albany offered a pair of possibilities–briefly beautiful in spring and fall, and uncontrollably cold the rest of the time.

They didn’t care.

They popped up to the capital city of the Empire State and within a few weeks were making a brand-new movie, called And See All the People. They took full advantage of an army of new volunteers and made immense, creative use of the gorgeous countryside.

Now in their third year, they’ve established a bit of a dynasty in the region and continue to astound folks with their prowess and determination.

So when I think of Albany, I think of my son and daughter-in-law, and I’m grateful for a world that allows younger folks to take their new-fangled ideas to ancient places and start amazing kingdoms.

It makes you glad to be in America.

For only in this country can we pull up stakes, proclaim our dreams and set them in motion … without fear of too much interference or ridicule.