Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Loser Gets a Cold

He sneezes hugely. Loud sneezes that feel great and shake his body. It's his grandfather's sneeze, a man who died years before the Complete and Total Loser's birth. His mother told him how when her father sneezed while sitting on the porch the firemen two blocks away would hear it and laugh.
And the Loser, like a man in a cartoon or old cold remedy commercial, sneezes when a cold approaches as did last week.
It's his first cold of the year and the winter season. Blame his job, which puts him in contact with the public. Blame the stress of the job: He worked thirteen hours one day, that on top of a two hour commute.
The cold makes the Loser's nose run. He goes to a drug store to get Sudafed, the only remedy that's ever done anything for him. They scan his driver's license before selling it to him in case he manufactures methamphetamine in his spare time. The box the woman hands him (short hair, cute) says it's the non-drowsy formula. This translates, to the Loser, as ineffective crap that might as well have the same value as a homeopathic remedy, i.e., zero. She assures him that all such products are non-drowsy now and the Loser misses packaging that warned against operating heavy machinery. 
He takes three tablets, one pill above the stated dosage, and gets through the workday without blowing his large nose more than once every fifteen minutes or so.
Colds are caused by viruses and there are over two hundred of them. The Loser finds that each virus has its own personality of sorts. This one is sharp and severe, but brief. Three days after the cold's onset the Loser is functioning normally, albeit with sinuses full of snot. A week later, the congestion lingers, but the other symptoms, which have the force of those in television commercials, are largely dissipated. 
The Loser's nostrils may look clear but inside they're packed, as if with mud.

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