I’m sick I’m sick. I’m sick.
I’ve been sick so long I’m bored of it. And the stuff coming out of my nose… Yesterday I actually blew something out that smelled – how is that even possible? I use my nose to smell. It came out my nose. Ergo, I should have smelt it before it arrived.
Where the hell does all this stuff come from anyway? I sit here, jumped up on those old-style pseudoephedrine decongestants (amazingly, I found a whole box of them) wondering if snot is like the ectoplasm in Ghostbusters – transported to this dimension from another plane. Because surely it can’t all be made inside my head. If it were, my sinuses would have to be endless labyrinthine caverns, like Willa Wonka’s subterranean chocolate mills. Or the mines in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, filled with miserable slaves excavating rich veins of booger. Maybe Taliban insurgents are hiding in the deep recesses of my skull working infernal machines for the manufacture of mucous. If my nose was a country its Gross Domestic Product would be the toast of the Economist. Extremely Gross Domestic Product.
Not only do I not know where this gunk comes from, I don’t even know what it is. Is mucous animal, vegetable, or mineral? Is it all from the same source, or are there different passages for mixing the various colours, like at the paint shop? And am I tapping some deep internal reserve, like oil wells, which will eventually run dry – or do I make it like a tree makes wood, out of just fresh air and water? Do boogers earn carbon credits? If so, they’re probably offset by the number of paper tissues I’m getting through…
Anyway I don’t care because this miserable cold has now moved into my lungs, which are now busy manufacturing snot’s cousin, phlegm – and what’s up with that? Like, what’s the connection pal – that’s what I want to know. Are they two substances that are basically the same, just from different places (like Aussies and New Zealanders) or, in the way that bats and birds both fly, but came to it independently, are they simply strangers at the party of my illness, embarrassed at both turning up in the same outfit (she’s green and sticky too? That’s it, I’m out of here).
Frankly the only good thing about phlegm is its name. Was there ever a word that so perfectly fit its subject matter? ‘Burn’ may be totally insufficient at describing the sensation of putting your hand on the element; The word ‘duck’ always makes you want to stand up and look around – but if an alien who had never heard English spoken before came down to earth in a spaceship and you said ‘phlegm’ they would hear that sticky, glutinous word and immediately go “oh yeah – that gross stuff inside your lungs that’s just like snot, right? Also, are they some of the old pills made from proper pseudoephedrine? I can’t believe you stockpiled them for so long…”