By Jan A. Igoe
LIKE EVERYONE WHO SMOOCHED one too many typhoidal third cousins over the holidays, I’ve got the crud. My lungs and sinuses are now weapons of mass mucous production, working to guarantee legions of doctors, respiratory therapists and pharmacists full employment through April, at least.
I’m not complaining about the post-nasal sludge, nonstop hacking or noon-whistle wheezing. Everyone you meet sounds like a pneumatic riveter this time of year. And fashion-wise, the ski mask Honey gave me to prevent spreading my personal plague doesn’t look half bad with the right accessories. (My kids actually like it better than my favorite knit hat, which they hid so I won’t get mistaken for the homeless, senile bird feeder in Home Alone 2. They’re always thinking of me.)
Back at the doc’s for the third time, I emerged with more prescriptions and a handful of samples (which I shamelessly begged for) in a paper bag. The doc assured me I’m not really contagious, only disgusting. So on my way back to the pharmacy, I returned one last Christmas present at the mall. There’s a good chance I’d need that money and a second mortgage to pay for all these meds.
The pharmacy tech watched wearily as I emptied all 67 compartments of my purse on her counter. There were dog leashes, tennis socks, foreign coins, Crock-Pot recipes and bungee cords, but amazingly, no prescriptions. My oxygen starved brain and I sorted through the rubble again, trying to discern their disappearance. Then it hit us.
I collected all my green-slimed tissues in a coffee cup. The cup went into a paper bag. I vaguely remember depositing a bag in a trash can outside the mall. And my prescriptions just might have been in that bag.
The doc’s office had already closed, so I drove back to the mall, waited until the trash can was alone and dove in headfirst, trying to be discreet. About 15 minutes later, I headed back to my car with slimy prescriptions in hand. Victory was mine until the car refused to start. Its battery was deader than my brain, which neglected to turn the headlights off.
This shouldn’t have been a problem because we own several sets of jumper cables. But for reasons even mucous-free females with clear heads can’t grasp, all of them live at home in the garage, although I’m not blaming any particular husband.
No need to panic. I’d simply scope out the parking lot to find some Good Samaritan with his own set of jumper cables who’d be eager to help a wheezing, sneezing, hacking damsel in distress.
Suddenly, I spied a large white Dodge Ram, cut off from the herd. Cautiously approaching the driver’s side window, I didn’t want to spook him. But before I could throw myself on his mercy, the large, frightened driver started punching numbers in his phone and yelling, “Get back! The cops are on their way!”
Apparently, some crazy person in a ski mask was stalking motorists in the parking lot. So I took refuge behind my favorite trash can and waited for the police. Maybe they’d give me a jumpstart. Or better yet, arrest me and take me to a nice, warm jail with free drugs.
JAN A. IGOE, our writer and illustrator from Horry County, is ever so ready for warm, slime-free weather and perhaps a new hat. Reach her here.