Yesterday we had a short, violent storm that met all the conditions of a weather report heralding a coming apocalypse. Fortunately, the world did not end, or if it did end, it would seem that the afterlife is an awful lot like the current life, which is kind of disappointing. In literature and mythology from all over the world every culture seems to include mention of a coming apocalypse; it is a common thread everywhere and traditionally includes a lot of gruesome detail regarding numerous horrible and frightening occurrences that lead up to the final and even more gruesome end of days. It must be human nature to enjoy recounting as much horrendous descriptive prose as possible, which I find rather unnecessary. Even Chicken Little had the courtesy to just say the sky was falling and not go into detail. It should be enough just to say the word 'apocalypse', which pretty much covers everything you need to know without having to carry on about horsemen, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fire and brimstone falling from the sky, and whatnot. Way too much information.
So, the world didn't end, but I was sicker than I have been in a few decades, which felt just as bad at the time. The plague-like illness started innocently enough in my head with all the symptoms of late summer allergies, which I came to later understand was just covert deviousness on the part of the illness. It ultimately made my ears horribly painful and began an insidious migration down to my chest. I hacked, I coughed, I felt like someone had parked a 4 wheel drive truck on my rib cage. I had chills, I had a fever, I was miserable. I'm not a big fan of doctors and I rarely go and see one, but I could tell that things were progressing pretty rapidly into dangerous respiratory territory, so I called and made an appointment at our local clinic.
Did I say how much I hate going to the doctor? When I finally made it into an examining room I had a ridiculously long and uncomfortable wait made even more torturous by my symptoms. Then, the worst possible thing happened – I got a health professional with a sense of humor.
He bounded into the room like an annoying puppy, introducing himself cheerfully and behaving as if I couldn't help but be thrilled to spend a little quality time with him. My head started to pound. He started by asking me about my symptoms. Evidently, the fact that I was hacking like a 70 year old coal miner and blowing my nose wasn't enough.
“Feeling under the weather, are we?” he asked brightly.
“No,” I answered, “we aren't under the weather – the weather has run us over with a tank. We are sick.” He gave a little chuckle and bounced onto his little wheeled stool. “Hey, were you out in that weird storm yesterday?” he asked. “I thought it was the apocalypse.”
I gave Dr. Happy the evil eye. I should say I tried to give him the evil eye. Since my eyes were red-rimmed and watery with dark circles under them, I can't be sure how successful I was at it. I may have ended up giving him the fish-eye instead.
“Thanks for the apocalypse update, Doc, but just in case its only an end of the world fire drill could you give me something?” I asked.
“I could, but I have commitment problems. I'll need to poke around a little first.” he chirped.
He poked around in the manner of all doctors, which I endured with Spartan stoicism. Then he plopped down into his stool again and started writing things on his little prescription pad.
“You have a disease going around that is carried by white footed mice,” he pronounced with a smile. “Its really nasty.”
White footed mice? Really? Not rats, not birds, not swine...white footed mice? Was he kidding me? I had to conclude not, since he launched into a happy speech about the disease and how people can die from it. The jolly physician went on to comment with a chuckle on the amusing irony of being done in by a creature to whom we humans have been deliberately giving horrible diseases in laboratories for about 100 years. I told him that in my present condition wryly amusing irony was way to subtle for me to grasp. He handed me a bunch of prescriptions, told me to take them exactly as written since I had signs of pneumonia, and gave me a pat on the back.
“I'd give you some post-apocalyptic medication but I don't have any,” he said from the doorway. “On the other hand, you're awfully grumpy. Maybe I should give you a salve for burns just in case.”
He laughed at his little joke, waved his fingers at us, and skipped off to his next victim. Gotta love those funny doctors.
On the way to the pharmacy I couldn't help thinking that I would rather go out in a giant planet consuming apocalypse than be taken out by mice. It just seemed so undignified. And if I got to choose where I ended up after Ragnarok, I wanted it to be someplace with no doctors who interned at Comedy Central.