those days (sigh), all it took to get well was some attention
May 1, 2003
It's almost daylight, but I am still lying
in bed dripping with cold sweat, shivering with fever to the beat
of "Tabeh Shabe Shanbeh" and staring into the swirling
black hole that used to be my bedroom ceiling, but is now flashing
selected embarrassing scenes from my teenage years. Good Lord, I
can't remember the last time I was hallucinating from sickness.
I swear I am infected with an ever-mutating alien flu virus; the
damn thing has been feeding on me for a whole week and shows no
sign of backing down.
I feel homesick too. I remember how my younger brother was especially
fond of the attention he would receive when he was sick with a fever.
His favorite part was the cool, damp cloth my mother would place
on his forehead to lower his temperature. He called it "Dastmal-e-Mariz",
and he would have the sweetest smile on his little feverish face
as long as he had his "Dastmal-e-Mariz" provided for him.
In those days (sigh), that was really all it took to get well.
You just needed some attention, and the rest was simply "Leemoo
Shirin" and "Behdooneh". But here in the U.S., I
can't even catch a common cold these days. I have to be tested for
West Nile Virus or SARS as soon as I "aaaaCHOO".
And shopping for something as simple as cold medication is like
torture nowadays. Actually I avoid buying drugs unless absolutely
necessary. But that means only buying drugs when I am already very
sick. Trying to figure out what to buy while standing in front of
a great wall of cold medications in a drugstore can make any normal
person dizzy, let alone allow me to decide through my runny nose
and watery eyes what would cure my cold.
Rows and rows of Tylenol, Excedrin, Bayer,... drowsy, non-drowsy,
Sinus Allergy, NEW!, 12% more! Daytime, tranquilizer, NEW!, hay
fever, organic!, 10% less! Voted Best Laxative 2003!....oops, wrong
And ooooooh how my aching belly misses my "Nabat Daagh"
that was simmering with passion, especially made with me in mind,
and blessed with a mumbo jumbo prayer that actually worked. Now
I can't even smoke some air-purifying "Esfand" for fear
of setting off the smoke detectors. Even the traditional medical
concept of having either "Sardi" or "Garmi"
doesn't translate properly into being a "Cool Guy" or
a "Hot Chic". What do you serve these people anyway? A
Grande Double non-fat "Gole Gaav Zaboon" and a chilled
"Khaak-e Shir" Frappaccino?
While we all try to stay physically healthy eating the organically
grown fruit that tastes like mildly flavored water, and the tasteless
rubber called "free range" chicken, we come across all
sorts of physical and mental disorders we never even knew we had
all this time, and wonder how we ever survived without them (or
Back in the good old sick days, when we were considered the "Roghan
generation by our grand parents, physically you were either "Khepel"
or " Reeghoo", and mentally you were possibly "Khol".
But you can no longer be simply sick or just plain crazy. These
days you have to be very specific in identifying your illness: bulimia,
anorexia, dyslexia, paranoia, bipolar/manic depressive, ADD (Attention
Deficiency Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)...
The scary thing is that these medical terms are now common household
expressions, and people actually identify with these disorders and
flaunt them like custom designed jewelry. Boy, if our grandparents
could only see us now!
But the most common "modern maraz" is how we are all
morphing into multitasking procrastinators under the overwhelming
pressure and speed of modern life. So many things we want to do,
so many deadlines we need to meet, yet so many unfinished tasks.
So what do we do to cope? Simply procrastinate and put things off
until the very last minute, hoping they will somehow magically vanish
or naturally expire and go away. But
we feel guilty about not accomplishing our tasks and get depressed.
We eat to cope with depression and get more depressed when we realize
how much weight we have gained.
Then we decide to go on a diet, work out, schedule and arrange
tasks. We procrastinate creating the schedule, because it just has
to start on a Monday, and we already missed this Monday, so we might
as well take the rest of the week off. Come Monday, we do everything
except what we were supposed to do. Then we get more depressed and
eat more, until we finally decide to break the cycle and achieve
the unachievable, and become a new person -- starting next Monday.
Why is everything so complicated these days? Did we really have
all of these disorders in the old days, or was it that we just couldn't
afford them? Maybe we were too busy enjoying our simple lives to
notice the complexities. Or maybe we didn't have enough "liberty"
to choose customized disorders befitting our lifestyles and suiting
Do people in struggling
nations just take what they can get, appreciate it, and make the
most of it? Is it because a small bucket of yoghurt sells for a
thousand tomans that you don't see any lactate intolerant people
in Tehran? Or are people really uneducated and hygienically unaware?
It's broad daylight now and I am still shaking and hallucinating.
I think first I'm going to strangle that cacophonic crow outside
my window, and then call in sick again, and hopefully get some real
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