MaxBarry.com
writes things for cash

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Tue 08
Jun
2004

True love & drool

Max I have a throat infection. This will come as no surprise to people who know me well; developing throat infections is something of a hobby of mine. In fact, given the amount of time I devote to it, it’s more like unpaid part-time work. According to my parents, it’s because I have no tonsils. The story goes like this: as a kid, I caught a cold or something and the late 1970s were a dangerous time for tonsils; you only needed to look at a doctor the wrong way and he’d be down your throat, grabbing for them. My parents were unconvinced that I needed a tonsillectomy (“ectomy” being Latin for “get those dangly things”), but they were hypnotized by the gentle swirls of the doctor’s lava lamp and into surgery I went.

In a twist worthy of Marvel Comics, I emerged with an incredible super power: the ability to transform any bodily affliction into a throat infection. It works like this:

  1. Get food poisoning
  2. Develop throat infection

Or:

  1. Stub toe
  2. Develop throat infection

Or:

  1. Develop throat infection
  2. Develop much worse throat infection

During times of sickness, I also gain super powers of drool production, which allow me to produce my own body volume in saliva. In fact, I’m pausing to spit even as I write this. Sorry, that’s probably a little more insight into the creative process than you really needed. But it really is amazing. If I could bottle this stuff and sell it as some kind of industrial lubricant, I’d be rich.

Right now I can’t speak without breaking into a fit of coughing (followed by spitting), so Jen is required to phrase all questions to me in a way that accepts a yes or no answer. She’s pretty good about this, except, I discovered, when it’s 4AM and she has to get up for work in three hours. I thought I was being terrific last night, keeping my coughing and spluttering down to an admirably low level, but somehow Jen failed to appreciate this. At one point she glared at me (I think—it was dark) and said, “Do you want me to go into the spare room?”

My answer was “no”—I mean, it wasn’t like she was disturbing me—but I had a feeling the real question was, “Do you want to go into the spare room before I brain you with a lamp?” Unable to articulate this, I just lay there quietly. Then, slowly but surely, my throat started to tickle. I fought against it, but finally it was too much and I had to grab for the pack of Butter Menthols on my bedside table. In the process I banged my lamp and knocked a book onto the floor, and in fact I was still looking for those bloody Butter Menthols when Jen sprang out of bed and announced she was relocating.

She didn’t hit me, either. I guess her question was for real after all. What a girl. I was filled with love and appreciation; also saliva. I had to spit.

Comments

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Colette (#324)

Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Quote: ""The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy" -- Kurt Vonnegut"
Posted: 4697 days ago

Heh. I do that - I turn every tiny thing into an ear infection. One of these days I'm going to give up and become deaf.

Ada Rell (This Girl) (#2463)

Quote: "There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't. Tee Hee."
Posted: 4652 days ago

My brother does that with ear infections too! I do it with throwing up. I'm quite healthy, but throw up whenever I can.
My sister's hobby is breaking bones. It's a good thing my parents are doctors--otherwise I'm not sure I would have lived to get out of their house.

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