Thursday, March 25, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #368
Nancy White Kelly

Think of a four-letter word. Gotcha!

No doubt your mind just conjured up something ugly that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap in by-gone days. My parents weren’t prudes, but damn and hell were the two worst words I ever heard them say. Those rare utterances always surprised me.

After we married, Buddy became a walking lexicon for his naive wife. Being a Mississippi country boy who went straight from high school to the Navy, he was well acquainted with what I call gutter language.

Some unfamiliar words he interpreted had more than four letters. Buddy taught me that a “broad” was a non-complimentary term for a worldly woman and that a bitch was not only a mother dog but an uncomplimentary description of a nagging female. It didn’t take long for me to fondly attach myself to the term “lady.”

Toilet talk isn’t humorous to me either. When I was a teen-ager, my friends would tease me because I blushed at the slightest suggestion of anything lewd. Half a century later I still blush.
Some things were just meant to be private. Start talking about constipation or gassy exuberances and likely you’ll lose your audience. What occurs in the bathroom ought to stay within the confines of the necessary room built for that purpose.

I must now confess that a new four-letter word has entered my vocabulary…“Crud.” It isn’t in the dictionary, but I can define it easily because Buddy and I have both had this convoluted cold in the past few days.

He got the crud first. For days I endured his sneezing, coughing, laryngitis, dirty tissues and ill mood. Just as he was getting over the worst of his crud, my head started buzzing. Nasal passages dripped like a broken faucet and my voice sounded like a man’s.

Nothing about me is simple. I have had metastatic adenocarcinoma, histoplasmosis, renal azotemia, and an acute myocardial infarction. How could the four-lettered crud be so bad? Memory fades at my age, but I do believe this crud was the most complicated, congestive, cotton-picking cold in my lifetime.

While lightening may not strike twice in the same place, the crud does. We had hardly changed the bed sheets when Buddy relapsed. Round two of crud for him.

Buddy and I are polar opposites in many ways so it should not be too surprising that we handle illnesses differently. I prefer to suffer in silence. Should an unexpected sickness require that I disturb my doctor’s golf game you can be sure I am nigh unto death. Buddy, on the other hand, has his doctor’s cell phone number on speed dial.

My philosophy regarding something like the common crud is that “this too shall pass.” Buddy’s isn’t known for such optimism. When he picked up the phone last week, I quickly intercepted his call and sent the hearse back. As much as I dislike throwing money away on a cold that would likely cure itself, a doctor’s visit had to be cheaper than a funeral. It is always possible that this crud could be masquerading as the Swine flu.

The smiling doctor, who knows Buddy quite well, obliged him with a double-barreled shot, a prescription for antibiotics and a steep bill for sympathetic services.


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