It was the best of years; it was the worst of years. Yeah, right … more like 10/90. Much like that classic, 70s song, “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” it stunk to high heaven. All forces conspired against me, right up to the bitter end when last week, hours before deadline, my computer went inexplicably black as a crow eating licorice in a coal mine. If that lack of expected quality humor put a damper on your New Year’s Eve revelry, I do apologize.

Oddly enough, I had begun my column but got sidetracked by watching a YouTube recipe video on baking turkey drumsticks. I’m a hog for turkey gams and that night had a powerful hankerin’ for such. Lacking volume, I tried plugging in my speaker as I had a thousand times previously, when my laptop as I knew it ceased to exist. I had to interrupt editor Amber’s maternity leave to text my non-column explanation.

So that was my NY surprise. Christmas Eve day was similar when I awoke to find someone had sneaked in and super-glued my left eye shut. Manually prying it open, I felt booger-like intruders matted to my lashes and the mirror revealed a reddened slit where my once-wide-eyed sparkle used to live. Next morning, Christmas day, the right eye had followed suit – my barely visible pupils sporting bright, seasonal colors.

My nurse sister-in-law Jane, after receiving my selfie as my reason to not make our family Christmas at their Clark cabin, diagnosed highly contagious pink eye, demanding I get to the ER post-haste. I resisted that wise advice and spent my Christmas alone and forlorn. Unable to wear my contacts lens, thus barely able to see the TV, I noticed “It’s a Wonderful Life” was about to come on. I’m not proud of it, but I bellowed, “Ah, go to hell!”

I know that’s poor Christmas spirit bordering on sacrilege, but to coin a phrase, it is what it is. It’s just that in the days preceding last Christmas 2020, a shiv-like torture instrument shoved deep into both nostrils revealed COVID-19. Wonder what’s on tap for Christmas 2022, leprosy maybe?

Let’s retrace to pre-NYE, the 29th when morning brought another shocking anomaly of nature. The eyes had just begun responding to powerful, prescribed eye drops, when I awoke to a lower lip swelled to the size of a bloated earthworm. By evening, I had become the Elephant Man with the lip now the size of a Charleston Gray Watermelon. I could barely talk, much less eat.

Again family members, upon seeing my selfies, texted in a humorous vein, mind you, clamored for a trip to the ER; again I declined. Next day at my follow-up eye appointment with Dr. Bell, I jokingly gasped, “I am not an animal. I … am ... a human being!”

I again didn’t get the anticipated, bemused reaction. He visibly recoiled before urging me to go home and take Benadryl. “You could go into Anaphylactic shock.” Whatever allergic reaction caused this glandular freak show, combined with the pinkish eyes, I was going nowhere near mistletoe.

Happy New Year? No such thing.

(1) comment

Harry Block

Geeze Doug, hope your feeling better. This too shall pass, just like all your past girlfriends

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