Let’s be painfully blunt: It’s not possible for a man to be sick and remain manly. I’d like to claim that testosterone is the cure-all that keeps guys burly and ferocious through all kinds of challenges, but that hormone bows in defeat before the cold, the flu, or — in my case — bronchitis. I spent much of the new year fighting off a nasty infection, and that’s when I learned just how far we men fall when we fall ill.
Women can have a liver transplant in the morning and host a dinner party for 20 that evening. Even when ill, women are invincible and can do anything. We men can do absolutely nothing when we’re sick. We’re helpless, and we want everyone to know about it. Everyone.
The first thing we need is, “Poor, poor, baby” sympathy, from anyone and everyone. We need to know that you know we’re sick. It’s probably best to humor us, bring us coffee and let us watch “The Three Stooges” on DVD. Men find palliative comfort in The Stooges: their bone-breaking antics and contusions remind us that we aren’t as close to death as we feel. Let us watch The Stooges; it’s a small request, but it’s important. I like the original Curly. He makes me laugh.
The next thing we need is rest. Gather up all the alarm clocks and bury them in a hole in the backyard. Turn off the lights. Seal us up in our bedrooms. Just make sure the remote is nearby and we’ve got a stack of DVDs. Let us hibernate until we reach the Stooges’ weaker years. Then you can come in and suggest we watch Super Bowl highlights or Bewitched. Elizabeth Montgomery was quite a woman and nothing makes a sick man feel better than watching her twitch her cute nose. Forgive us this weakness; it’s genetic, we’re sick, and the women can have Tom Cruise’s nose to keep them happy, assuming he got to keep it in the divorce.
Finally, make sure we take our pills on time. When a man is sick, he becomes stupid. We can’t figure out simple instructions like, “Take two pills, twice a day.” Is that two pills, or four in total? How long is a day? Just think for us, like you always do. We might actually thank you for it, just this once, if we live.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.