Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

February 8, 2014

Bad as it may be, the other one is far worse

One problem I have with being sick is that I don’t always realize I’m as sick as I am.

My mother is no longer around to tell me I am sick, so I have to rely upon other people to do that. This now includes my dentist and one of his hygienists.

Several weeks ago, I began developing what I usually call “The Crud.” Has to do with spectacularly rebellious sinuses, allergies, horrible coughing spells and that sort of thing.

I’ll spare you the details, save to say that while I was in Gettysburg recently, I was under The Crud’s influence and had no appetite for food. What a revoltin’ development (as Riley used to say), to be in a place where there is great food — but to want no part of it.

The second day I was back home, I went to the dentist for a session of routine scraping, digging and maintenance.

“Have you been checked for pink eye?” the hygienist asked me. I said I hadn’t. Eyes were a bit red, I told her, but they weren’t itching or anything like that. When the dentist asked me the same question, I began to wonder.

Later that afternoon, I saw my eyes in the mirror, then called the doctor. He phoned in three prescriptions, and I embarked upon a week of Better Living Through Chemistry.

What started as The Crud had developed into the From Here Up Flu — which, although unpleasant, is preferable to the From Here Down Flu.

The From Here Up Flu mainly involves being unable to lean back in your chair or lie down in bed and go to sleep because that’s when the real coughing starts. The From Here Down Flu may involve suddenly having to spring from your perch and take off at a dead run in a state of sheer panic.

I didn’t sneeze even once while all this was going on, but with each bout of coughing came the hiccups. A few swallows of water was enough to lay them to rest until the next time I started coughing half an hour later.

Two friends of mine reported having the same type of flu and that pink eye was affiliated with it. They did not say if they got the hiccups.

I can always tell when I am getting better because my appetite returns, as it now has.

Years ago, I had a version of the flu that involved From Here Down as well as From Here Up, plus a 101-degree temperature.

That fever deranged me to the point where I called a lady friend and talked to her for half an hour about being in love with her sister — someone I dated just twice at least three years before that and had basically ignored since then.

Later that evening, the fever broke and sanity returned like an avalanche. I shook like a dog eliminating peach pits and asked myself, “What in the hell was all that about?”

Then I called my friend back to tell her I was well again and not to mind anything I had said earlier. Bless her heart, she understood. She was already aware that I am crazy.

That done, I immediately got on the phone to summon a medium-sized pizza and ate every last bit of it.

Just because I am sick and don’t have an appetite, that doesn’t mean I cannot eat or will not eat. Sometimes — as Norm Peterson said the night they locked him inside the bar at Cheers — a man has to do what a man has to do.

In fact, it was while I was at Gettysburg and not in a mood for food that I had a culinary epiphany involving something I’d seen on television but never before had the chance to eat.

A Scotch egg is simple perfection on a plate. Whoever thought of coating a hard-boiled egg with ground sausage and deep-frying it should have a constellation named after him.

This Scotch egg was surrounded by mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and other lesser appetizers that I ate first before turning my complete attention to the egg.

I ate it slowly, savoring every damn bite, and immediately wanted more. For that matter, I want one NOW, even as we speak.

That I finally got to eat a Scotch egg was thanks to our buddy Bill, who is living proof that you can become friends with people who are your business associates (although you should beware of doing business with friends or relatives).

He is proprietor of our favorite hangout, Gettysburg Eddie’s, and has gone to the wall for Gary and me more than once. We have tried to do the same for him.

One day, Bill took us to the Garryowen, which is a thoroughly Irish pub and eatery.

There exists a friendly rivalry between some of Gettysburg’s establishments and their owners and staff, who actually support and patronize each other. Bill bought Gary and me a couple of beers and appetizer plates, which included a Scotch egg.

Despite my wheedling, Bill said he wouldn’t steal the Scotch egg from the Garryowen and add it to his menu at Eddie’s (which includes, thanks to Gary and me, a soft pretzel slathered with warm crab dip).

“Finish your beer,” he said, “and I’ll take you to a REAL bar.”

“Really?” I asked while flashing my brightest smile. “You’re going to take us to O’Rorke’s?” (O’Rorke’s is another Irish pub and eatery just down the street from Eddie’s. We have snuck in there and found Bill sitting at the bar.)

Bill glared at me and called me the very same name he called Gary and me the day we showed up unannounced at his restaurant for his birthday party last December. It’s a name I can’t repeat here, and I can’t even think of a euphemism for it.

He wasn’t in the place when we arrived.

Gary got on his cell phone and told Bill’s answering machine, “Happy birthday, buddy. Wish we could be there to share it with you. Goldy’s here and he says happy birthday, too.”

A while later, Bill walked in, stopped in his tracks and stared at us.

“Where were you guys when you called me?” he asked.

“Sitting at your bar,” we said.

That’s when he called us the name I can’t repeat here, and for which I can’t think of a euphemism.

When women call each other horrible names, that usually means war. They have a hard time understanding that men do it as a demonstration of friendship and brotherhood.

It’s a guy thing.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He was here long before Duck Dynasty

    July 27, 2014

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

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