A week ago, I took sick. Again. I think I know why this time.

This can’t be just the flu, I thought. This is bigger than the flu. More mysterious than the flu. Sturdier than the flu.

It must mean my time here is up. I’m done. My mortal coil has the tensile strength of fettuccine.

This has been a year for getting sick. Talk to everyone you know. Everyone you know and everyone they know. Not many have been spared. People who never get sick, the never-get-sick people, have been sick two or three times.

When the never-get-sick people get sick, you know you’re in for it. When the strong fall, the weak fall quicker and harder. When the strong fall, the weak say, “Why would I even think I have a chance? I’m a weak link and I’ve always been a weak link.”

A weak link doesn’t mean I can’t be mature about being a weak link. I’ve had a good life. I’ve lived longer than most although not as long as others, but if you average the two, it’s not too bad. If this were 1620, I would be celebrated as a miracle man. They’d be carbon testing me right now to discover what my secret was.

However, this is not 1620. I’m not a test case. I’m a head case on the way to being a basket case.

The latest version of the flu started last Sunday. I think it may have had something to do with the Golden Globes. If they were giving an award for sheer wickedness, I would have been a nominee.

We were watching the program because Sue loves the movies, as well as the pageantry, art and fantasy associated with them. The Golden Globes are like the Oscars, however the foreign press vote on who wins the awards rather than the academy.

Halfway through the show, Catherine Zeta-Jones wheeled out her father-in-law, 101-year-old Kirk Douglas, so that they might present the award for best screenplay.

It seemed like a nice idea on paper. The kind of thing that sounds good after a cup of tea or a glass of wine. A way of honoring the past by acknowledging one of its legends.

“Is he still alive?” was my first reaction. “I thought he died a long time ago.”

The camera panned the audience — beautiful, young women, handsome men, great directors, wily producers and brilliant writers — and their expressions were, “God help me if I ever look like that. Please don’t let me get that old.”

I thought the same thing. If I do get that old, do not ask me to give an impromptu speech at the Beverly Hilton unless the teleprompter is glued to my eyeballs and my eyeballs can talk.

I wasn’t proud of myself, I think I’m better than that but evidently I’m not, but at least I was honest about not being better than that.

I went to bed. Within an hour, I had chills and for the next 11 hours, I alternated between hot, cold, sweaty and achy.

Served me right. I’ll bet Kirk Douglas slept like a baby. Spartacus has earned it.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.

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