The Lesser of Two Miseries

When Eliot decided that April was the cruelest month, he must have been talking about allergies*.

I’ve suffered from allergies most of my life. A long list generated by the ENT specialist when I was a wee thing included, amongst other things, dust, pollen, and lizard poop. I’m not sure how they figured out that last one. They must have very zealous allergy specialists.

Anyway, my exasperated parents tried everything they could think of to offset the cost of keeping me well supplied with Kleenex. I wasn’t very cooperative: I disdained inhalers and threw off the special dust protection mattress sheet they bought me with love and a little desperation.

So everyone eventually resigned themselves to tolerating a lot of spare tissue and my constant sneezing.

But something miraculous happened when I came to the United States: I stopped hacking up a lung every time a stray particle of dust wafted into my nose. It was almost as though I didn’t have any allergies. I maintain this is one of the main reasons I like America.

I couldn’t remain immune to April seasonal allergies forever, of course. Now I get miserable and itchy-eyed and develop a general indifference towards life around this time of year. Last night, I decided I’d succumb and take a Zyrtec. The things had worked for me in the past, and all I wanted was one day without the kind of tumultuous sneezing that makes my neighbors put in requests to move to other cubes.

Biggest. Mistake. Of my life.

Here’s an important fact I reaffirmed about myself today: I would rather be miserable than unproductive. I got stuff done, of course (including a demo in which no one seemed remotely impressed by anything I’d produced (or maybe it was 5 pm and they were done for the day (I rewrote that code five times, okay?!))) but my brain had basically been replaced by cotton. The really unimpressive kind that gets made into free t-shirts.

So I gave up, went home, and ate a lot of pasta.

Tomorrow — and I don’t give a rodent’s posterior if everyone around me packs up and moves to a conference room because I’m sneezing; hell, I might even do that myself and save them the trouble — no more drugs. None. At all.

*Look, I can’t keep up my usual scintillating  writing all the time, can I? Some days are bound to be all about personal health issues. Also, I was influenced by a McSweeney’s article, which urged me to put off procrastinating and write more.

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