And Then They Stuck a Magic Wand Up My Nose


Being 33 years old, I grew up on the cusp of the technological revolution that occurred during the 1990s.  Here’s what I mean.   I remember being a high school student in the early ‘90s.  Nobody had a cell phone, computers were slow and used mostly for games and word processing, I had one friend who owned a webcam and everyone thought it was the nerdiest thing ever, research projects were done using a library and real books, there was no Napster, Facebook, or even Google, and words like “meme” and “emoticon” weren’t a part of anyone’s vocabulary yet.  For people ten years younger than I am, cell phones and the Internet are such a part of everyday life, it seems like a world without them would be unfathomable.  For me, I got my first cell phone three years ago, and having a video call on Skype makes me feel like I’m in a Ray Bradbury story.

Having said that, it should come as no surprise that I often find myself in a state of technological shock.  I remember the first time I saw my street on the computer screen using Google Maps.  My jaw dropped.  How was this possible?  Likewise, I had the same feeling working in a public school and having a SmartBoard.  The thing was capable of miraculous things.  It could show movies or PowerPoint presentations…students could even come up and write on it.  When I was in high school, we were still watching film strips.  The world had changed, seemingly overnight; instead of spooling film, I could show my students where I lived on the SmartBoard and it would only take a matter of minutes.

Not that I would ever show my students where I live.  That’s crazy.  But you get the point.

All this is setup for the story of my mind blowing trip to the clinic yesterday.  The past two days (and going on today, too), I’ve been deathly ill.  At first I tried to tough it out.  Yesterday, though, I seriously just crumbled and succumbed to it.  I couldn’t open my eyes and, although I was freezing, I was sweating worse than Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter (that’s a bit of an old reference).  Wanting to call in sick, I searched out my work contract to see how many sick days I get a year.  The answer: zero.  Yes, zero.  In fact, my contract states that if I’m to miss a day, I must provide a two day notice.  That seemed a bit ridiculous but then again what do I know…maybe there’s an app on Google that can predict illness.

My strategy was to go into work and act as sick as possible, hoping they would send me home (it wasn’t much of an act since I thought I was dying).  Immediately Boss and Leah were concerned.  Not that I was sick.  More that I would miss work.  It was decided that I had to be taken to the Korean hospital (they call it that, although it’s really more like a clinic) to get a shot.  Apparently, all I needed to bounce back to health was a nice injection in the butt administered by a friendly Korean nurse.  Initially, I tried to argue my way out.  I needed rest.  Not to be bent over a table in front of a girl with a syringe.  If I was a man who had fetishes, that would not be one of them.

There was no getting out of it, however, and so I soon found myself in the clinic with Leah, who would be serving as my translator.  Into the doctor’s office we went, and it was then that I entered a world of technological amazement and wonder.  First, a device was stuck in my ear and my temperature was taken.  Nothing crazy.  Still a far cry from having to sit there with a stupid thermometer under my tongue, only for it to come out reading that I’m dead or something, causing me to have to try it again.  Next, the doctor pulled out something that looked exactly like a magic wand.  It was a long, thin rod that was glowing at the end.  Behind him was a television monitor.  He proceeded to shove the magic wand up my nose.  The horrifying image of my inner nostril filled the television screen.  It was repulsive, with one long nostril hair obscuring the shot.  Proving to me that my nostrils are bigger than I imagined, he also stuck a suction tube up there and starting sucking out the snot.  Meanwhile, Leah sat there and watched with no expression on her face.  The screen was rather big and I felt as though we were watching my inner schnozzola presented in IMAX.

It wasn’t over.  Next a camera went down my throat, making me gag.  Up came my tonsils on the TV screen, looking like the gooey antennae on a snail.  It was determined that I had a fever and I was given some pills which, alarmingly, made me feel instantly better the moment I took my first dose.

Has sickness become, like the paper map or the rectal thermometer, a thing of the past?  There are no sick days in my contract and, having taken those pills, it occurred to me that maybe it’s because sickness can be defeated easily, as if it was the first level of Angry Birds or something.

Heck – my fever didn’t even warrant the super-pain-killer injection shot.  Perhaps I’ll go back and request it should I injure myself severely while trying to trim that awful nose hair.