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Posted by on Jan 7, 2024 in Retirement Humour |

Living Retired — ‘Man Flu’

Living Retired — ‘Man Flu’

Living Retired — ‘Man Flu’

By Gary Chalk.

When I was young, I became surprisingly good at coming down with some mysterious imaginary illness that would prevent me from having to go to school. I had a system…

I would open my parent’s medicine drawer and read the symptoms on one of the containers; then I would describe those symptoms to my mother telling her they prevented me from going to school that day. It worked like a charm. “Gary, you are describing a sore throat. Stay in your pyjamas, and I will get you some Children’s Tylenol from the medicine cabinet.”

But my sickness strategy did not always go as planned…

“Mom, I have this throbbing, cramping pain in my stomach. Sort of a dull, continuous ache that sometimes goes down into my lower back and inner thighs.” I continued, “I am also experiencing mood swings.”

“GARY, THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE! I AM NOT GIVING YOU MIDOL FOR PMS. Next you are going to tell me you have a urinary tract infection.”

Recently, I told Jan I was achy, cold all over, so tired that I couldn’t sit up in bed let alone get out. “It is the worst case of flu EVER! I hope you don’t get it this bad.”

Jan shrugged, “Gary, you have ‘Man Flu,’ women call it a slight cold.” She continued, “The problem when you get sick Gary is that after a while, I get sick — of being with you and your non-stop groaning and complaining.”

“Jan, I thought this was about me being sick. Not you getting sick of being with me.”

Jan does have a point. When I come down with the flu, a bad head cold with a dry stuffy nose, or even worse — the Leaf’s lose three games in a row — I become a nuisance. I don’t get out of my pyjamas, I prop myself up in bed, and moan loud enough that Jan will hear me from the den and come to see how I am feeling.

Just two weeks ago I woke up with a headache, that quickly spread — to become a pain in Jan’s butt!

“Gary, it is another case of ‘Man-Flu! You’re carrying on like you need to be treated at the Mayo Clinic.” (Clearly, I was losing the sympathy battle.)

Later in the day lying in bed, I called Jan to come. Would her bedside manner be more compassionate?

“Dear, can you please go to the store for some things? I would like ginger ale — not diet. And some frozen sherbet — not sorbet, not yogurt, not gelato. It must be sherbet.”

Jan muttered something about, “This ‘Man Flu’ is driving me nuts. Next, you’re going to tell me you want a particular flavour of frozen sherbet.”

“You’re right Jan. I only eat rainbow sherbet — raspberry, orange, and lime. Not that passion fruit, tropical island, prickly pear stuff!”

I fell back against the pillow and closed my watery eyes. “Jan when I don’t feel well, I usually eat soda crackers — Nabisco Saltines, not the no-names. I don’t want ‘With Sea Salt’ — I only eat Nabisco Saltine Originals! It’s not that I am picky; it’s that when I am sick, I am particular.”

Silence. I opened my eyes. Jan was nowhere. She had left me. Alone. In sickness!

There was only one thing I could do. I needed that medicine they advertise on television this time of year. Not ‘Don’t Let A Flu Get You Down’ NeoCitran. Not ‘It Tastes Awful and It Works’ Buckley’s.’

“Jan, I need some of that ‘nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can sleep’ NyQuill.”

Yesterday, Jan said she was feeling ‘off.’ I went to the medicine cabinet. The best I could do was Super Beta Prostrate.

Jan does not have ‘Man Flu,’ but she is sick — of me.


Living Retired is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk.

NEW! Listen to ‘Living Retired On The Radio’ every Friday 10:30 – 11 am on The Mike Farwell Show on CityNews570.