‘Would you go to Boots,’ asked a friend with the dreaded lurgy, ‘and get me something…’ ‘Something? What? Condoms? Hairspray? Earrings? A sandwich?’ ‘No, something to make me feel better. Knock out drops?’ Oh yeah, Boots carries knock-out drops. I supposed I’ll just walk up to the pharmacist and say, ‘Can I have some poison? Oh no, it’s not for me. It’s for a friend.’ Anyway, nice man at chemist counter asks about symptoms. ‘Well,’ I rolled my eyes, ‘aching limbs, feverish, sweating, coughing, hot and cold chills, likes 80s pop, wears a flat cap, you know.’ ‘Anything else?’ I wanted to add, ‘Being a pain in the ass,’ but instead said, ‘Well, he has been moaning.’
There are few things more frightening than hearing someone moan even though they are not getting anything amputated. This sort of pissed me off. Does he really have to yell, ‘OH GOD!’ as if he just opened his credit card statement? ‘Well, if he’s moaning,’ said the pharmacist, ‘you should take him to hospital.’ Thinking I’d blown the chance to get any medical help, I blurted, ‘Oh, well, I think he’s just moaning for fun or attention…’ I then noticed the woman standing within the pharmacy section, nodding. ‘Man flu,’ she said. ‘Man flu,’ the pharmacist repeated. So I was shown the Rolls Royce flu section – you’ve got your Nytol and Benylin (‘Some of them will wake him up: this one won’t,’ he said softly. I looked around to see if anyone was earwigging.) At the checkout queue, I saw a cluster of people gathering up empty boxes of Night Nurse, so I bought one of those too.
Despite pouring most of this stuff down the sickie’s gullet, ultimately the only thing that put him out of his (and my) misery was a scotch ‘n’ Lemsip larger than his head. Then I made him watch a BAFTA screener of Things We Lost In The Fire, where Hallé Berry mourns the senseless murder (has there ever been a senseful murder?) of David Duchovny even though she has Benicio Del Toro for company. See? When faced with entertainment agony, even the sickest amonst us knows that being unconscious is sometimes the best option. Next time he’s ailing, I’ll make him watch the final between Leon and Rhydian.