Now, as I begin this most recent of my pontifications I want to preface this with a warning. This is not a judicial overview of the way of the world. This is a truly one sided and prejudiced view based on life experience as a wife and daughter. I do not mean to intimate that I do not feel that the thoughts put forth below are anything but 100% factual and accurate, but I also do not care for hate male (and no, that isn’t a typo).
Ahh, the times that try women’s souls… there are so many. There are eight a.m. meetings after long nights of teething or stomach flu. There are flat tires on lonely highways in cars with missing jacks. There is the sudden and unexpected shrinking of our favorite jeans on the night of our big date. In truth, the list goes on and on, from the trivial to the truly traumatic, the mundane to the melodramatic. But I suggest to you, my fellow wonder-women, that there is simply no time that tries a woman’s soul like the following; a sick man. (Can I get an Amen?)
What is it about a sniffle that causes the manly men in our lives to regress to the level of pond-scum? These normally self sufficient Adoni suddenly become totally incompetent to complete even the most modest of tasks, including but not limited to taking a shower. I should be truly fair here. Mr. Big Prize is not one of the worst case scenarios of this sex-wide phenomenon. However, the other manliest of men in my life is-my father. Strangely, there is only one ailment that really turns him into a quivering gelatinous mass; the common cold. Let one of those little acute viral nasopharyngitis germs sneak past his hard working immune system and he’s down for the count. Again, I should be perfectly clear on the reality of his hardheaded stubbornness when it comes to all other ailments. This is the man that will trek into the hills even though he’s suffering with the stomach bug, because if he doesn’t he might miss that perfect sunrise picture. This is the man who refuses stitches in a thumb after nearly cutting it off while doing honey-do chores because it might slow the progress of the project. This is the man who only took two weeks away from his job after having his left lung removed, because, after all, it was really just a little flesh wound. These things seem not to bother him at all, comparatively speaking. But give him a bit of sinusitis and he’s dead man.
Enter the hero of this situation; my mother. Bed bound dad is moaning and wailing and blowing his nose, and mom trudges out into the freezing cold to buy some sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, so-you-don’t-smother-your –husband –with –a-pillow medicine. Upon her return she peeks into the den of the devil to see if he’d like anything for breakfast/lunch/dinner. The answer sounds something like “esss”, because really, who can pronounce a “y” when your nasal passages are blocked? However, when asked WHAT he’d like to eat all that comes back is “I dodt doe” (I don’t know?), which roughly translated, means “Nothing in this house”. So, back out into the cold she goes, in the hopes of bringing home something the monster might find passable, and save her hide from certain destruction. This usually goes on for days, while Mr. Large and Growly grows worse and worse and worse. The end is always the same; mother slings her stubborn hubby over her shoulder and drags his sorry hide to the doctor, where he gets shot up with all varieties of B vitamins and steroids. Miraculous recovery ensues, mothers sanity spared, marriage saved. (Can I get an Amen?)
Now I ask you, gentle reader, what is it that drives our manly men to run crying to the arms of mommy (figuratively, of course) when the fever strikes? I think it’s perhaps it’s their one chance to simply “be”. I honestly cannot imagine the stresses of being a man. The responsibilities of the world literally ride on their broad shoulders, so how tired must those shoulders be? Maybe a day or two of a nasty cold is the only way they can really rest from that without succumbing to an overwhelming sense of societal guilt. They are well and truly being taken care of for the few days that their bodies force them to submit to healing. And we, their women, willingly and gladly coddle and croon as they recoup from it all. But I say to you, it was a wise man that wrote “in sickness and health” into those wedding vows, and a wiser woman still who knows that “till death do us part” does not mean until we find the bullets…