In Praise of Being Sick

(art crimes/giant)

I’m pretending that there’s something wrong with me. It’s a game I play every once in a while. I skip a couple of meals and rub my eyes until they’re swollen. Then I hobble around the apartment, telling myself that I don’t feel quite right. I turn the blinds and change the light in the room. Refill the Brita. Put soup on the stove and pick at the paper while it heats up.

There’s a happy glow in the sick bubble. I lean back and imagine I have a legitimate excuse to sleep the day away. Influenza, Bronchitis, Tonsillitis, Appendicitis…I’ve got nothing but admiration for all of those middle range diseases—the ones that won’t kill you but will allow you to take a nice, juicy time out. I’ve never been sick a day in my life. All throughout school for as long as I can remember I went out of my way to catch something. I ran around in the winter with wet hair, without a jacket—I stood in the way of sneezes, I smoked cigarettes at an absurdly young age when my baby lungs should have revolted with a serious case of hacking but they never did, even when I was up to two packs a day.

All I wanted was to be spared going to that hellhole Timothy Christian school. I remember how it was adding insult to injury, that last year when the asswipe sitting next to me was out sick every other day with one “bug” after another, not one of which I caught, regardless of my proximity to this walking germ test tube. The thing that made me furious—I mean, if I thought about it I could transform myself into a seething, red faced zombie—was that this sniffly four eyes was already a brainwashed born-again. The freedom of staying home was lost on him. I should have been the one to get the get out of jail card.

I was the one cutting class and tripping on acid out by the dumpsters. I spent my days walking around and around the compost heaps at the edge of school grounds, wearing out a Mingus mixtape on my Walkman and dreaming of a new country.

Everyone despised me at Timothy. I looked like a boy, I acted like a boy and I made no secret of the fact that I wanted to fuck other girls like a boy.

Some of them (especially the girls) despised me so much that they actually prayed for me—sinner that I was. The teacher would announce my name as she went through the daily “Pray For” list and with one eye half open I’d actually see it being whispered on the shiny, lip-glossed lips of a preteen pseudo missionary who indulged freely in gossip and hiked up her skirt to show us all her smooth, stocking-less legs.

How sweet, I thought, she wants my slutty cunt up there in heaven with her.

Now, years later, on this, one of my patented fake sick days, I got up at the crack of dawn and changed into my “sick” outfit of a grey hoodie and grey football sweats without any underwear. I tie them low on my waist—as low as possible, just barely above the line where my pubes begin. I drink a pot of tea and spend the hours under a blanket, watching TV and rubbing my clit, my eyes blank and my head empty. Sometimes I invite over a girl to “take care of me”. Every so often I get up and sit on the toilet to come. Lately, my orgasms have been so overpowering that I let go of my bladder a little bit during the magic moment.

Un Petit Mort, a little pee, the tough seizure of horniness cracked…so what if a couple of times I didn’t make it to the throne?

There’s that fag D. in the Hamptons, who’s fighting lung cancer tooth and nail. He’s a shadow of his former self, ashy and emaciated, but he’s still got porn in every room of the house. I think there’s something about the prospect of immanent death that makes a person even hornier than usual, that is, if they’re still able to feel anything at all besides pain and regret. If you can manage it, getting-off is an affirmation—a way of sticking up your middle finger and shouting, ‘I’m not dead yet cuz I still gets mines!’

The one time I really felt close to death was when I kicked smack. I puked and puked and puked until all that was coming up was burning bile and little bleeding chunks of stomach lining. My throat felt like it was closing and I got a mountain range of gigantic, puss filled whiteheads on the back of my neck. I guess you could say I was sick, but I don’t really think of it like that. It was more like a journey in which I traveled from slavery to freedom.

Rub it ‘till it bleeds.

Raymi, little hump monster.

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