Teachin' For America

Thoughts and otherwise on one particular Teach for America experience.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Guess I'm Just Stuck With Castor Oil

     I’m sick.  I’ve got a pretty vicious cold that has me dragging serious ass around school.  I know I look bad because everybody comments on it.  And, as in most workplaces, I think, everybody has a remedy.  I got plenty of suggestions for down-home vitamins and minerals (and castor oil- yuck!) and plenty of recommendations to drink OJ and water.  One “remedy,” however, sticks out.
     A teachers’ aide came into my room today during one of my more violent coughing spells.  “You still got that cold?” he asked.  I nodded wearily in affirmation.  “Well, I got a remedy for ya,” he winked as he walked out of the room
     “Great,” I called as he walked away, seeing an opportunity to get on somebody’s good side.  “I’m all ears.”
     By the end of the day, having stored away the many cures already suggested, I had pretty much forgotten about the one yet to come.  When I went into the teachers’ lounge to use the bathroom, however, there was, and he was glad to see me.  “Ooh, glad you came in here,” he said excitedly.  “I gotta tell ya bout that cure!”
     Once again, I was all ears.
     “Can you take Nyquil?” he asked, naming one of my old stand-bys.  I nodded.  “Can you take Contac?”  I was pretty sure I had heard of this one but didn’t know what it was.  I nodded.  “Okay.  You married?”
     “No.”
     “Got a girlfriend?”
     (It’s complicated.) “No.”
     “Hmmm,” he seemed disappointed. “Well, here’s what you do.  Ya get ready for bed.  You take the Contac and you chase it with the Nyquil.  You got Nyquil at home?  You got Contac at home?”  I indicated that I could surely get my hands on some Contac tonight.  “Okay.  You put some extra blankets on the bed.  You take the Contac, you take the Nyquil.  Then- and here’s the key- you gotta have sex.”
     I can only imagine what my face must have looked like at this point.  “I’m serious,” he said.  “I ain’t kiddin’.  This been working for me for forty years.  Everybody I tell it to look all suspicious but then they come back and say, ‘It works!’”  
     Getting my wits about me once more, I realized I had to say SOMETHING.  “Well, I guess it takes a certain kinda woman to do that for you,” I said.  
     At this point, from reading his face, I realized he thought I was referring to a certain kind of woman.  “I mean somebody who really loves you,” I backtracked, “Who’ll let you cough all over ‘em.”
     “Whatever you gotta do, man.  It works. But here’s the thing- after you done, you can’t get outta bed.  You gotta stay under the covers. You’ll wake up feeling all better.”
     “All right,” I said, “Thanks.” I headed into the restroom to relieve myself and hide for a little while.

     As I was heading out of the building at the end of the day, away from kids and ready to crash- oh wait, I had to coach a soccer game- I ran into my friendly homeopath again.  “Remember,” he said, as we passed in the hallway, “Nyquil, Contac, and poo-poo.”

     Nyquil, Contac, and poo-poo, indeed.  Now I’ll feel like I haven’t got any skillz when I report tomorrow that I couldn’t try it out.