Fier Thy Words

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Everyone Turns Into A Doctor When I’m Sick


by Scott Spinelli

For quite some time now, one of my secret wishes was to have a raspy, deep, sexy, sore-throat voice. The sort of voice that sounds like you’ve been smoking Lucky Strikes since you were eight.

Over the past few days, my wish came true. I have a sore throat. Or at least, that’s what I call it. I’m surprised they’ve had enough time to come up with a name for an illness they have no idea how to treat. At this point, I might as well have polio, as the timeline to have myself rid of it would be shorter.

I’ve tried those lozenges, the chloraseptic sprays. None of it works. Recently I purchased lozenges from a brand I’d never heard of before, Sucrets. Here’s a sucret: you can only take one every two hours, they numb your taste buds and, oh by the way, they don’t help at all.

I guess it’s my turn to be sick though. It’s that time of year. If you don’t believe me, stop what you are doing and listen to the sounds of your class for one minute. Sniffles, loogie snorts, coughs. Everyone’s got it.

Still, when whatever bug is popular that month does catch you, you act not only as if are you the first person to ever have a sore throat, but have the worst case to ever be documented.

“Can you believe this, I’m not only coughing, but my voice is sore too!”

I actually caught myself speculating that I might have a rare, uncharted form of bronchitis. What that even meant, at the time I didn’t know. But, I did know my throat was hurting, and thus, it has to be something from another planet. No one has ever suffered like me.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, injured or ill at all, I immediately become a world-renowned physician. Somehow, everyone around you also sheds their normal personality – the hell with being a senior engineering student, junior magazine major. Their real calling has always been medicine.

It happens all over the place, for instance, immediately after an injury.

“No, no, you wouldn’t be able to walk at all if you had torn your ACL. They usually have to cart the players off, so, if only by that logic, you’re fine. Forget the fact that your knee feels like its slipping into the bottom half of your calf. Trust me, I watch the NFL.”

My favorite is the suggestive response. Even as I write this now, I’m embarrassed to admit that not only have I been given this suggestion, but I’ve made it to others as well.

“You know what you should do, go down to the health center.”

Wow, there’s a novel concept. Health center, you say? Don’t tell me there are doctors there too?

In the mean time, I’ve tried all sorts of methods to clear my throat up. Hot water with salt (that one makes very little practical sense, but my mom told me to, so I couldn’t tell let her down). Orange juice (for the vitamin C, though ironically at this school, the dining hall orange juice is disgusting). And tea. Lots and lots of tea.

I don’t particularly like tea, nor do I know how to make it. I get the general gist – hot water, bag of seeds. Still, there has to be some technique to it, because the cups I’ve brewed have been wretched. There’s nothing worse than tea that’s either warm or (gasp!) cold.

As if the lack of enjoyable taste sensation wasn’t enough, now the value of hot liquid has vanished. At this point, I’d like to drink lava. It’s thicker, and, from what I read, it’s incredibly hot.

Without getting on too much of a tangent, I will say, I have a theory with regard to hot drinks. Whether it’s coffee or tea or hot cocoa or that unidentifiable chai nonsense, people love carrying around boiling beverages. It makes them feel important, like adults. Sometimes, I’ll put orange juice in one of those coffee containers to make myself feel older, kind of like Tom Hanks in “Big”.

As painful as it may be, the key to whole “sore throat” routine is the raspy voice. Without it, no one believes you. If you “hurt” your leg, you better pray you have a limp. Otherwise, you’re just another college kid with a Harvard medical degree and a propensity to exaggerate your own illnesses. Join the club.

Scott Spinelli is the humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear on Thursdays. He can be reached at If you’re looking for fun: battle mode on “Mario Kart” with Luigi.


February 28, 2008 - Posted by | Spinelli

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