Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Leprosy


I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains there's more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line and the less I seek my source for some definitive (the less I seek my source) the closer I am to fine the closer I am to fine

(Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine)

The other day at work a colleague (We’ll call her Emma) was talking to another colleague and I about her brother and all of these great things he does and this fantastic job he has. We’ll call him Ed. So I casually asked Emma the next most logical question that a person might ask her: “Is Ed single?”

Is
He
Single
?


It was as though I had voiced that question in slow motion. Similar to when you push the button on the DVD that makes it play in sloooooow mode with a deeeeep, streeeetched out voooooooice.

Emma’s eyes widened. She looked me up and down. “Laurie. Could it BE? Are you SINGLE?” The word single was pronounced as if she were incredulously inquiring “Do you have LEPROSY?”

Well, yes Emma. Yes, I have been infected for a few years now. It is more wide-spread in New York, but I brought the disease down here with me to North Carolina. Fortunately it is not contagious, but there is only one known cure. There are a few treatments to make the pain go away and to stop the bleeding, but there are a few side-affects. Symptoms vary. Watery eyes. Rapid beating heart. Cravings for copious amounts of alcohol.

There is a colony for people who have been infected. The colony is located on an island far, far away, an island known as Manhattan. You pay your toll at a gateway to the Singledom Colony. That gateway is called the Holland Tunnel. From there you are triaged to the appropriate sector: outpatient, respiratory, broken hearts, radiology, and Chelsea. (The latter is for those in need of homeopathic medicine.) There is no need for Quarantine in Manhattan, as Singledom is not contagious; conversely those diagnosed may actually cure one another with proper treatment. Singledoms walk among healthy people. In fact, Singledom is not even diagnosed as an actual disease on the remote island of Manhattan, only in faraway lands, known as the South or the Midwest or Ohio. Singledom is rare in the South and doctors are often uncertain how to treat this condition. One is better off seeking treatment at more advanced facilities in larger cities throughout the world.

Often times desperate measures are taken as a home remedy to treat Singledom. I was watching a re-run of “Friends” the other day. Chandler, after seeing a neighbor die alone, realized that he was much like the neighbor and he may die alone as well. So he called his ex-girlfriend Janice, who was somewhat nuts, but nonetheless a viable option to date. He then finds out that Janice is married and pregnant.

I chuckled at this episode, as it is all too familiar. It is quite simple to call ghosts-of-boyfriends-past as a temporary cure for such an ailment. It’s kind of similar to Vic’s Vaporub to treat a stuffed-up nose. You rub it all over your nose, your chest and your throat and it temporarily makes you feel a little bit better but once it wears off, you’re back to not being able to breath again……yeah…….all too familiar.

In North Carolina, it hasn’t been so easy. There are exactly zero ex-boyfriends who live here. Which were plentiful in New York. Maybe not what all doctors would recommend, but a good temporary cure. Kind of like eating chocolate when your blood-sugar drops. Not as healthy as drinking orange juice, but still an alternative that helps you feel better.

I am somewhat fit to be tied. I have this dreadful disease. I am miles away from a treatment facility. And suffering severe symptoms.

What I’ve got to offer is: a vaccine for others who may be experiencing the same diagnosis. Word on the street is that February is Singledom Awareness month. I think there is even like a pink ribbon or something that you wear on your shirt to support the cause.

So, I guess at the risk of ruining any sense of pride I have- if you are reading this blog and you know someone who suffers from Singledom, who might benefit from treatment, I may be able to help with the cure. I am not licensed or anything, but I think I would be as skilled as an advanced practitioner. I have done extensive research on this science. My treatment regime includes lots of fun evenings out with liberal amounts of alcohol to disinfect the wounds; international travel to treat tropical depression; home-made chicken noodle soup to clear any congestion, heavy dosages of Vic’s Vaporub to open any blocked passages, chemo (not the kind that makes you lose your hair though), and I am also skilled in CPR. I do firmly believe I can cure Singledom. I have the elixir.

Emma asked what my requirements are:
Religion: Gentile or Jew, Taoist or “Spiritual but not Religious”. Agnostic or Buddhist. Shit. For me a “religious experience” means lying on the couch with a bottle of cabernet (holy Eucharist as far as I’m concerned) and a box of pizza (communion) and re-runs of Law & Order (reconciliation). I’m Roman Catholic, but at this stage, who in the Hell (or purgatory) is counting?
Occupation: Seeing as how I work with punk 18 year olds who are students, I meet absolutely 0 prospective boyfriends in the workplace. So anything that requires a college degree and some level of goals and a steady salary is good in my book.
Physical Attributes: Black, White, Cuban, and Malaysian. Hell, I pretty much suffer from leprosy, so you can have gaping wounds for all I care.

So Emma, to answer your question:
Yes, yes I am single. So sue me for mal-practice. It’s weird here. And if you know of any single men in this god-forsaken state, YES I am accepting new patients. And hey Manhattan- if you’re still accepting my insurance, I’m ready to come home for in-patient treatment.

4 comments:

Dara said...

I have a case of Leprosy as well. But I purposefully infected myself. I love my leprosy. And I love when people are surprised by it.

Greg said...

I think this is my favorite of all your posts. Masterfully constructed. Heartfelt. And full of truthiness (a new word taught to me by a friend just the other day; I'm hoping it catches on).

wee said...

oh i love you.

Jen said...

I have the leprosy too. The thing I hate the most is that everyone thinks that I am 33 years old, I should naturally have a husband or boyfriend. Oh and it really gets on my nerves when the people in my life are more concerned about me having a boyfriend than I am.