MAD DOG: Don't Ask Me, I'm Running a Fever
They say there's a reason for everything. Of course they also say the harder you work the more money you'll make, you'll understand when you grow up, and Oprah Winfrey movies are a sure fire money maker. Obviously they're wrong about a lot of things.What brings this to mind is an upper respiratory infection that's had me nailed for the past week, is showing no signs of leaving my body to vacation in the South of France anytime soon, and to tell the truth has got me real damn cranky, so I wouldn't start any funny business right about now because I'm really not in the mood to deal with it, okay?The question is: What possible reason could there be for the existence of a virus that clogs my sinuses, clouds my mind, makes me sleep sitting upright on the couch lest those daggers it's inserting in the back of my throat come out the front, and generally makes my life a living hell? (I know, it sounds suspiciously like the dreaded Marquis de Sadecoccum virus that's sweeping the fetish clubs of the west coast but the LST -- the Leather and Spike Test -- came back negative so that can't be it.)This virus isn't helping me in the least, unless its reason for being is to make me grateful that I don't have Ebola, which at the moment sounds like a vast improvement. It's not helping the doctor either, since she had to put up with my pitiful whining and whimpering when she could have been spending a perfectly nice afternoon doing something important like finding a cure for not using your turn signal. And it isn't helping you, the healthy, happy reader, who would rather be reading a column about why the French take three to four times as many sedatives, antidepressants and tranquilizers than people in any other European country and...Hey! Stop turning the page. I'm not done with you yet!I told you I was cranky.As far as I can tell, the only good this virus is doing is to boost the economy by making me buy truckloads of tissues followed by caseloads of trash bags to cart the used tissues away in, thereby assuring that the trashmen have plenty of work. Of course this also means forty innocent trees were cut down to make the Puffs Ultra-Medicated Dolphin-Free tissues, a few hundred barrels of precious fossil fuel were depleted to make the plastic trash bags, and the city landfill is going to be clogged up that much sooner. Face it, being sick is environmentally disastrous.Let's get back to our original question: Is there really a reason for everything? It's true fatal diseases prevent overpopulation. And if there was no silicone then waitresses -- I mean, aspiring actresses -- in Los Angeles would have chests filled with used chewing gum. But what possible explanation can there be for Charles Nelson Reilly, in spite of the fact that he appeared on an episode of The X-Files as a dead soul who's been lost ever since Johnny Carson retired from the Tonight Show?It's this kind of thinking that makes the pop psychology section of Barnes and Noble more popular than the Mustang Ranch on double discount coupon day. They have books like "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People", "Why Good Things Happen to Nobody You Know", and "Why Mean People Suck". They stock assertiveness training treatises like "When I Say No I Feel Bad" and "Get In My Way And I'll Shoot You." And of course, there's the ever-popular "I'm OK, It's The Rest of You That Are Screwed Up."I've isolated three types of people who think there's a reason for everything. First is Type A, the analyst. This person believes in scientific reasoning, the inviolability of a cause and effect relationship, and that all of my problems stem from my mother's inability to demonstrate affection and emotions for me once my younger brother was born.Sorry, that's my analyst I'm thinking of.Next is the Type R, or anal-retentive person. While many of us use the phrase "anal-retentive" lightly -- like to describe anyone who is neat, tidy and hates seeing...who the hell moved that piece of lint from the left side of my belly button to the right?! -- it is, in fact, a bona fide medical term used by psychiatrists which means "Boy, is this guy an uptight a-hole, or what?".The anal-retentive believes there's a reason for everything because, well, that's just the way they are. They also believe everything has its place, cleanliness is next to godliness (though it actually belongs on the other side, thank you), and that you can catch cooties from a Big Mac if you eat it without holding the wrapping paper around it.The last group of people to believe there's a reason for everything is the Type H, or helpless person. They buy into this philosophy because they think everything's out of their hands, meaning they can do whatever they want to do -- like make a right turn whenever the hell the mood hits them; kill, dismember and freeze a handful of young boys; or move somebody's belly button lint without asking! -- all without fear of consequence because, well, life just isn't under their control.Luckily I don't fall into any of these groups, because I'm not sure there's a reason for anything. Then again, what do I know? I'm the one who's sick. Remember?