January 31

I am, as the Smiths would put it, still ill.

Yesterday, bothered and frustrated by that fact, I resorted to those lozenges that have names like Cold-eze or So You Can’t Breathe Without It Hurting Well Maybe Suck On This. The directions for them always amuse and worry in equal measure: Don’t take any more than six a day! Don’t take them any faster than one every two hours! Don’t feed after midnight! One of the particular directions of these particular lozenges in question was, “Don’t bite on it, just suck it until it dissolves entirely.”

So I put it in my mouth and obey the directions, thinking to myself don’t bite it I know I want to bite it but just don’t bite it for the love of God when, entirely unthinkingly, I swallow it whole.

Now, this shouldn’t be a problem — it was pretty small, and it’s not as if it could really lodge in my throat and kill me, and yet that’s exactly what I was convinced was going to happen. For the next ten minutes after swallowing, I sat there nervously, unable to do anything other than just wonder when I’d suddenly stop breathing without notice. Goodbye, cruel world, I thought to myself. At least when I’m dead, I won’t have to keep blowing my nose.

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