The sickness began on Christmas Eve. Soon the drip, drip, drip from my nose turned into a swollen yellow snot stream. I have had sicknesses at Christmas when I was a boy but never as a man. Sicknesses that would have killed a boy without my parents' strong belief in the healing power of the liquor store. "We would have lost all of you little bastards during the winters we lived in Alberta if my mom had not taught me to dose you kids with brandy," my mom likes to say.
You cannot argue with alcohol's magic powers but lucky for us science has advanced since the days we cured just about everything with it. It was Christmas: the only thing that would get me through it would be pills and booze. I lined them up and I knocked them down. I suppose there are some combinations of pills and booze that will do you more harm than good when you are sick. I have yet to discover that combination.
This year's pill/booze combination must have been an inspired one. My aunt told me, once Christmas was done with, that, "I would never have guessed you were sick. I've never seen you so happy at Christmas."
This year I spent half my Christmas shoveling snow from the driveway, where my Cadillac nourishes an endangered salmon stream with dirty Canadian oil, and the short walk to the house, which seems kind of long when it is covered in snow. All my other male neighbours were doing the same thing as me. Drinking, shoveling and taking pills. Occasionally we would babble incoherently to one another. Besides the neighbourly chit-chat the scrape of our shovels was only interrupted by the the occasional, "Fuck!" "Shit!" and "Motherfucker!"
I am just about better now. Just in time for New Year's Eve.