On Family

It’s Christmas Day, which is a day to celebrate family.  In this case, I will be celebrating the way my father has gotten into his 70s with all of the common sense of a sea cucumber. 

He is not, just to get this out of the way, an uneducated man, nor does he come from an uneducated family background. His father was a medical doctor and he has a PhD. My mother has two master’s degrees, herself – I’ve never been quite clear on whether two master’s beats one PhD or whether they’re tied there. 

Point is, in theory I have a super smart family (as the son with a single bachelor’s degree, I am the black sheep), but sometimes it does not feel that way. 

Take, for example, the events surrounding my father’s birthday, earlier this month.  As a dutiful son, I took him out to his favorite Chinese place on Friday (12/16), then took him to see Rogue One on Saturday night. 

We’re getting into my car afterwards, talking about what we’d liked and oh god could they have HAD any more trailers, and he says to me:

“I hope my coughing didn’t bother you, I’ve had a cold for a couple of days”

Monday was the sore throat. 

Tuesday was more sore throat, with fever and coughing. 

Wednesday and Thursday? Also bad. 

Christmas Eve, I’m looking at a thermometer at 2 in the morning thinking to myself “well, it’s 103.6. If it hits 104, I need to call a cab and say hello to the hard-working staff at the local emergency room.”

Christmas Eve at about 4, the fever finally breaks, I have an hour or two at regular body temp, and then it ramps back up to 102ish. 

I’ve been going through cycles since then, every time with the high a little lower, have almost completely lost my voice, and am in general thinking very unkind thoughts about the stock I am theoretically descended from. I comfort myself with the notion that I was obviously swapped at the hospital. 

Still, I know what he’s getting next Christmas. I’m thinking a DVD set of The Stand, Outbreak, and The Andromeda Strain, maybe a book on germ theory, some of those filter masks the Japanese wear when they have a cold or flu but need to go out in public…

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