I Want Herpes
(This piece originally appeared in Thieves Jargon in 2004.)
“TAKE CHARGE!” The gospel voice sings, as couples cavort in rainforests, bike down treacherous cliffs and careen through the white water in their kayaks, mouths open in effort and anticipation, gleaming muscles wet with lust.
I want herpes. No, I really do! Then I could take Valtrex and really take charge of my life! People with herpes are EXTREME! They are always doing extreme sports and they’re always coupled, ready to screw on some high cliff wall, even though “you can still spread herpes to your partner!” Now, that is really extreme. Apparently kayaks are the antidote to gonads and strife.
“GO!” And I want asthma too. Then I could take Advair and a camera would follow me around, morning to night, where I would really get stuff done at work, people would hand me plans rolled up in poster tubes, I would meet hot singles out at smoke-filled bars, and yet be happy to go to bed at night alone because my life with asthma is just so goddamned rewarding all I need in the world is my Advair.
But wait! I’ve just completed my morning run! I’m the mood for something a little more Aryan. I stand stoic, blonde and blue-eyed, muscles straining against my best workout shorts and perfectly stain-free white t-shirt (my friends and I are on Certain Dri). A beautiful Asian woman in a little black dress flirtatiously sprays me with her beautiful Asian musk (they keep it in pretty little aspirators these days) but I am immune. I have my own gorgeous aspirator, green, full of youth, full of Flonase. My nase has never flo’d so strong and proud. My nose hairs are suddenly blonde. Heil, Flonase!
And I want seasonal allergies. I would feel such a part of something bigger, you know? Then I could listen to The Who all day on This Beautiful Planet Earth and dance in communes with the best smelling most attractive hippies in existence. And we would have b-b-q’s and perpetually smile at each other, as the world turned like a Crazy Trip, Man, and the Clarinex is our Sun, Man, incubating the world like Warmth from the Bodhisattva, to grow and grow into the Lotus Flower and We’ll Identify Its Jewel together, Man. Dancing with the chicks in slacks.
And if I had osteoarthritis I’d be a really good gardener. And I could run around with a big yellow dog. I’d name the dog Vioxx. Or Celebrex. There is hope for my elderly bones.
And God knows I am just dying for high cholesterol. Then I could strut down the red carpet to the Grammies and know that even if beneath my Golden Globes rages a heart full of cheese and Polish sausage my waist will remain 22” tiny and my luminescent horse teeth will shine ultraviolet under the forensic team’s black light when they find me dead on the marble floor of the theater’s posh potty. Because that’s what’s so great about high cholesterol and trusty Lipitor—you’re so thin and young looking that forensics is called in because it just must be foul play for someone so perfect to be found so dead.
And if I had a lot of trouble sleeping all I need is the blissful-sounding Ambien, and I could wake up on a beautiful crisp pillow, 300-thread count Egyptian cotton, my window looking out on the multi-million-dollar-average-cost-homes on the island of Sausalito, as a basket full of yawning puppies rests peacefully in the sun of my giant picture window. This could certainly be habit forming. Bring it.
And if I had a problem with impotence all I would have to do is call the doctor and simply ASK about Viagra. Just ASK. And the next day at work I’d all of a sudden be a large virile black man. “What is different about him?” My shirts and pants are impossibly pressed by my impossibly erect penis. What else is a gal to do with a 72-hour erection? Iron!
Oh, how I want to be depressed. I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon character, but most of them are so active. They have to do stuff. And wear capes and save people. But if I were depressed I could be so cute—an adorable soft pebble, bouncing quietly, harkening the simpler times of the pet rock. I’d have a baby bird just learning how to fly following me as I hopped merrily, Mario-style (but without all of the pesky goals), over black and white flowers on a white plain, my Zoloft and me.
And I am just dying for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” springs to mind. I am all women. Blonde, Redhead, Brunette, Silver-Grey and completely flat-stomached. Thank the good sweet Lord that Zelnorm has brought us all together. IBS is not only the norm, but it’s zealous and Zen and the same time! I might just have to get that stomach tattooed to celebrate the sisterhood of IBS. We could have reunions in that beautiful white room that will not be smeared with our irritable feces thanks to Lord Zelnorm.
And don’t even get me started on the Sisterhood of the Yeast Infection. Gimme ovules, baby!
Oxycontin—that’s an evasive bedfellow. But the way the pharmacies and hospitals keep telling me in bold print that they DON’T CARRY IT I’m thinking it must be pretty special. It’s only like, this year’s Miru Kenchiku Luis Vuitton handbag. As expensive and as much of a gateway to bigger and more dangerous, er, bags.
Perhaps I could skip it all and just get Gastro-bypass surgery. Then I could scrap my sensible diet of organic mesclun greens, free-range chicken, and marinated tofu, and drink a gallon of Coca-Cola every day. There are no repercussions, right? No psychological ramifications? I would just have no stomach anymore, right? So like, even my insides would be streamlined. Oh, it is the ultimate luxury. My digestive system would not have to worry about working anymore. And that would be just dandy because, I mean, come on—who understands the digestive system anyway?
But wait—can I just have one trip around Disney World on my motorized scooter before the surgery? I know they’re made for the old folk but my neighbor, Fredericka, tells me that you haven’t seen America (or the rest of the world, for that matter) until you’ve experienced it, huge and proud, eating your way around Epcot’s World Showcase, from the seat of a motorized scooter with a turkey leg hanging out of your mouth. She particularly recommends the turkey leg in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.
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It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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