Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Woke up this morning and knew that something was wrong.

My throat didn’t feel quite right – though not really raw or sore. My nose was a little uncomfortable, though neither runny nor congested.

It felt like the second or third day of a cold, but I didn’t have any of the preliminary symptoms; they were suddenly just all there. Reminds me of nothing so much as the time I caught a cold in a literal split second. I’ve never forgotten it. I was fine, sneezed, and instantly had a cold: sore throat, stuffy nose, aches and pains. It was like someone had stuck a voodoo doll of me into a vat of cold germs.

It is also not dissimilar – though in a vastly different way (huh?) – to something I once experienced as a kid. I was lying in bed, blinked, and it was suddenly morning. I must have instantly fallen asleep and instantly woken up. It was like a jump cut from a movie. I’ve never experienced anything like it before or since. It remains the single-most unsatisfying night of sleep I’ve ever had. (I’ve had unsatisfying sleepless nights, but not unsatisfying nights of full, deep sleep.)

Throughout the day, I’ve been taking zinc lozenges and various potions and powders, trying to ward off something debilitating. Fortunately, we have a short week at The Speakeasy this week. (Rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday; performances Friday and Saturday.) Of course, even if we didn’t, I’d have to go on. I don’t have anything close to an understudy.

I’ve gone on sick before – many times, in fact. I’ve felt deathly sick before a show, but there’s something about Ol’ Doc Theatre that cures most ills – or least keeps me from feeling too awful while performing. There have been two major exceptions, both having to do with laryngitis, and even then, it had less to do with feeling awful than just not being able to talk.

Let me preface this with a story about the worst New Year’s Eve of my life: 1973 into 1974. For reasons I no longer remember, my then-girlfriend and I decided that the best thing we could do to see in the New Year would be to go to Disneyland.

And let me preface that story (a flashback within a flashback!) by talking about one of the worst days of my childhood. Somewhere around 1965, I went with a friend to Disneyland. These were the days when you needed ticket books to ride anything. (The proverbial “E Ticket.”) We were dropped off about 10 or 11 am, probably, and there was no way for us to be picked up before about 8 pm. I don’t know what we were thinking (well, we were, like 8 or 9, so we probably weren’t thinking at all), but we brought neither enough tickets nor enough money to buy new tickets (you could also do that in those days – of course, you could also buy just an admission to the park for $3), and we ran out of both sometime in the early afternoon.

It was like being in Hell. We were at Disneyland, but couldn’t ride anything; couldn’t eat anything; couldn’t even buy as little as a balloon. We were screwed. We wandered around for hours before we finally were rescued.

So, that New Years’ was only my second-worst experience at the Magic Kingdom. For yet another unknown reason (well, other than being a teenager), that year I really wanted a suede jacket with a lambs’ wool lining, so I got one. (Little did I know what was ahead of me …) I don’t remember having a cold, but I must have, since that’s been the only precursors I’ve ever had to laryngitis. (Though I’m not sure now, since I was convinced that some other friends had somehow slipped me something that screwed up my throat.)

Regardless, I couldn’t talk, but didn’t really need to to go to the park. But it was a cold night, so I wore the jacket, so even though I couldn’t speak, I was fine until it started to rain, and I discovered that this particular jacket had the unfortunate property of smelling like dog shit when it got wet.

So, I was cold, miserable, speechless, and stuck with the worst-smelling coat in the world.

Is it any wonder I hate Disneyland?

The last time I went to the park was in 1984, and I’ve never had any desire to go back. I have a number of friends who just love the place, and, for the life of me, I cannot understand the appeal of an overcrowded, overpriced enclosure full of unpleasant people. I mean, if I want that atmosphere, I can just go to Whole Foods. (Rim shot!)

I could continue this, but will save the remainder for tomorrow. One good thing about these multi-parters is that they automatically give me a topic for the next days’ post.

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