Laid Low

The image of bedridden misery below is borrowed for atmospheric purposes from Blocking the Mutant Invasion, a health-care booklet I illustrated in 2003 for Visionary Health Concepts.

At first I thought I was catching a cold. Not a welcome development. An annoying one, in fact. I’ve become spoiled after a long stretch of pretty good health lately.

But the grosser symptoms of a cold didn’t follow, so I revised my self-diagnosis, deciding I was just being thrown temporarily off-kilter by allergies.

Allergy attacks hit me more frequently than colds and indeed can feel a lot like colds in their early stages. But they don’t daunt me as much because they usually beat a retreat in a day or two once I summon Clariton (or its generic equivalent) into battle.

The first thing to go when I have either a cold or allergy attack is my ability to think creatively. I become a dullard with a brain made of styrofoam. A stranger to myself. An imposter at the drawing board. A talentless wannabe whose illusions of mental accuity suddenly lie exposed as pathetically unfounded.

Sure, I can type a blog entry like this one even when I’m woozy. It doesn’t take much energy to complain and act pitiful. In truth, there’s not much sympathy to be wrung out of a malady like today’s. I’m not in real pain; my throat’s not sore; I’m not coughing; I can’t even identify any intimations of life-threatening illnesses to get paranoid over. All I’ve got is mild vertigo, bleariness unrelieved by hours on end of sleep, and fatigue.

I’m going to the doctor this afternoon. I suspect that the diagnosis will be a mild infection caused by impacted ear wax. That wouldn’t be without precedent. Ear wax and my left ear do not always play well together.

Being sick, even mildly so, is really boring. There’s interesting work to be done. Deadlines to meet. Mark the Art Guy wants his new episode to be finished. (Thank you, Adobe, for being lenient about this, but missing a deadline still offends every ounce of professionalism in my being.)

I’m lucid and all, but creative finesse is beyond me. Now that I’ve been out of bed for a while half-hour, I’m ready for more shut-eye.

Do you want to know what a pathetic bag of ineffectuality I can be transformed into by a little errant ear wax? This morning I dozed intermittently through three installments running of Project Runway! Me, who feels entirely comfortable wearing ten-year-old flannel shirts. And I even cared slightly who got eliminated! How sick is that?!

Before giving up on reading this morning I thumbed through the current issue of New Yorker, where I came upon R. Crumb and Aline being typically scintillating for two pages. They always hit bullseyes. There was a time when I aspired to be counted among the trailblazers of the comix underground. Now I stare blankly at whatever Bravo chooses to offer.

I clicked past PBS on my way to Bravo and noticed that Sesame Street was playing. I could have stopped there and learned a few new letters of the alphabet. But it was just too intellectually demanding.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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4 Responses to Laid Low

  1. Blake Bell says:

    Hope the last week has treated you better, Howard! You’ve been getting some mentions on my weblog and in its Comments section re: SRB.

  2. Feel better, sweetie.

  3. François says:

    We’ve got flu over here, lots of people are sick, including my partner and I. I couldn’t even read comics for two days. Can you believe that?

    Get better soon 🙂