The plague and I

I think it’s safe to confess that I have been a carrier of the plague. Apparently, I had pinkeye.

Every single last one of my real-life friends (as opposed to my live-in-the-computer friends who far outnumber them and that is sad, really) just went “WHAT THE HECK?” even if all they did during this time frame was talk to me on the phone.

Honestly, some of my “live in the computer” friends probably worry that they will contract it through the keyboard via osmosis. You can’t be too careful with the plague, er, pinkeye.

Run

One minute you are all happy, happy joy joy and the next you are all “Wait? What’s this? Why am I scratching my eye all the time? I just noticed that I am scratching my eye all the time. Oh my gosh I am SCRATCHING MY EYE ALL THE TIME! GAAAHAHAAAHAHAH I have pinkeye!”

Anyone who has even a passing notion of what that entails immediately runs away from you as fast as their smart little feet can carry them. I would have run away from my OWN head if I could have.

This stuff is seriously, SERIOUSLY contagious.

Mr. Wonderful, having led a charmed life (except for that time that he chopped off a couple fingers — and for the record he has done that TWICE in his life), knows nothing of this. Mr. Wonderful is not aware.

Thus I repaid Mr. Wonderful’s ignorance by immediately giving HIM pinkeye. To be fair to me (because it is all about me) I didn’t MEAN To give him pinkeye.

The thing with most curses, plagues, assorted poxes and the like is that you don’t know you HAVE them until after you HAVE them.

Meaning, you get to share with all those closest to you — and probably more than a few innocent bystanders — before you realize that you are, in fact, Typhoid Mary.

In my case, I browbeat poor Mr. Wonderful into “finally taking some photos for a change so I can enjoy the kids’ soccer game in peace.”

Suitably chastened, he picked up my camera, squinted through the viewfinder, and “click” — immediately became infected from my surely contaminated device. Hey he promised, “in sickness and in health.”

I’m just giving the man what he asked for.

Different

Now, here is where life’s little inequities immediately take hold. Men and women, as it turns out, are different.

This is how a MAN contracts a highly contagious face plague: Realize you have pinkeye. Have wife schedule doctor’s appointment to receive prescription to treat pinkeye. Use said prescription as directed. Get better within a day.

This is how a female (namely, me) falls victim to the scourge: Realize you have pinkeye. Schedule doctor’s appointment to receive prescription to treat pinkeye. Remove contact lenses and throw them away because they are hopelessly tainted. Sob quietly over cost of said lenses. Use prescription. Dig out “emergency back-up glasses” that make you look an awful lot like Buddy Holly — but even less cute. Renew prescription. Realize that ALL your makeup short of your lip-liner is contaminated.

Calculate cost of replacing all that make-up. Sob quietly — again. Wonder if tears spread pinkeye? Realize that your insistence that you are not high-maintenance is a big fat lie. You ARE high maintenance. Well, you were, anyway. Now you are just ugly.

Become oddly comfortable with your swollen eye that is eerily appropriate for scaring small children on Halloween. Push your glasses back up your nose umpteen jillion times per day because you NEVER INTENDED TO WEAR THESE DUMB GLASSES EVER. Renew prescription.

Treat your own children like pariahs. “Don’t come near mommy — she’ll INFECT you.”

Consider keeping children at home even if they are symptom free because what if they are carriers and infect the whole school? We could end up being referred to as “ground zero” in a medical journal!

Wash, rewash, and was some more. Wash towels, blankets and pillows. Disinfect camera, remote controls, computer keyboards, cell phone and things you never actually TOUCHED but maybe made just made eye contact with at some point.

Wonder if you should go BACK to the doctor to see about the hand rash you have developed from handling all that disinfectant. Finally, despair of ever getting better even as you know in your heart that infections are a fact of life and most people don’t know they are carriers.

Vow to forgive, then decide you don’t care. Know, instead, that if you could find the person who gave you this plague you would cheerfully and with a clear heart poke their big pinkeye out.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt has clear eyes — and a vengeful heart.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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