On coughing

If there is a more useless and annoying bodily function than coughing I don’t know what it is. Maybe sneezing, but I digress. Sometimes when you get a cold, you also get a cough–a persistent, dry, hacking thing that makes you sound like a hoarse seal on its last flipper. You put your hand up to cover your mouth, but you fail and phlegm goes everywhere infecting the entire world with plague. Perhaps this is the secret of the common cold: it spreads itself through uncontrolled coughing, and let’s face it, all coughing is uncontrolled and ultimately, uncontainable. You pop cough drops as if they were candy corn and the cough doesn’t go away, but now your stomach hurts as well. A bad cough always coincides with a concert where most of the music is very quiet–no, you will never have a cough if you have to go to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overature w/ canon. You will cough during an Arthur Miller play where everyone talks and says lots of really profound stuff and you can’t get your cough drop unwrapped because maybe having a stomach ache is a little less horrible than coughing all the time. You buy new, very strong cough drops made with menthol eucalyptus jam that is so powerful the vapors make your eyes water (but now your eyes water and you cough). Good bourbon will help temporarily until you out of bourbon, but now you are tipsy and you have a cough. At the height of your cough you are scaring people who are expecting you to cough up a lung. Your ribs are sore from coughing because your stomach muscles can’t keep up. And then you finally kick the cold which has lasted about 14 days (or if you take zinc it will only last two weeks, so try that), you still have the bloody cough, which is going to hang around for another five weeks–maybe 35 days. Why do you always cough while chewing a soda cracker, spewing everything in eight directions at once. When you cough, people walk away from you, and if you go to the movies you either get hushed or the usher asks you to leave. You get one of those scary, raspy coughs that sound like a part of your throat is actually breaking loose. Some people cough as if their lungs were tip-toeing. You cannot stifle a good cough. You just threw-up a little in your mouth because the cough was so powerful it made you gag. Cough syrup, unless it has serious drugs in it, will do nothing to stop your cough, but it will keep the big drug manufacturers in business smiling all the way to the bank. You may have tuberculosis if you cough that much. As much as I hate to cough a lot, don’t every sneeze and cough at the same time, you will either sprain your head or have to change your clothes because of the wild spray pattern from the snot. Do not let others see the things you cough up and never do it in public. Go off in private–and that means out of earshot–if you have to cough up something like a cat with a persistent hairball. Nobody really wants to hear you clearing a nasty throat. And don’t forget the old adage, “It’s not the cough you have, but the coffin they carry you out in.” And I just ended this note with a double stranded preposition. Priceless.