I was sick as a dawg all last week, but my presence was nevertheless required in three long days of off-site work meetings. These quarterly meetings are painful enough when a person is healthy, but sitting at a table full of executives while trying to conceal a lap full of used tissues, washing down all manner of over-the-counter cold remedies with cup after cup of tea with honey and trying to stifle coughing fits, well, that took the agony to an all new level.
My parenting performance was lackluster at best—most nights I got home late, threw something onto a plate, called it “dinner,” and then went directly to bed and passed out. Thank God my poor children are remarkably self sufficient. And also very forgiving.
My disease has now moved from the “please kill me now because I cannot endure another nanosecond of this misery” phase to the “it sounds much worse than it feels” stage, which has turned out to have one surprising benefit.
With the singular exception of Patsy Cline, whom I adore, I am not a fan of country music. When My Ho suggested that we bring the Demis to see “Walk The Line” a few months ago, I was hesitant. Based on the little I knew about Johnny Cash and the fact that he always credited his wife, June, with saving him from alcohol and drugs, the last thing I wanted my girls seeing was some romanticized version of a codependent woman's relationship with a self-destructive drunk.
But June redeemed herself in my eyes by repeatedly slamming the door in ole’ Johnny’s face until he was good and ready to clean up his sorry act. Afterwards, My Ho thought I’d like a taste of the real deal and bought me a copy of “Johnny Cash at San Quentin,” and it’s been on heavy rotation at my house ever since. I especially love to sing along with “Folsom Prison Blues” while I’m doing the dishes. The appropriateness of that should be obvious.
One of my favorite parts of the album is during the end medley, when June’s attempt to take on Folsom Prison Blues herself ends with her laughing because she can’t sing the lowest notes. Normally, I can’t do them either, but on Saturday, in my temporarily phlegm-induced bass voice, I was right there with Johnny:
“…When I hear that whistle blowin', I hang my head and cry…”