Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Rare reports of tongue discoloration

I’m sick.  Strep throat.  It happened suddenly, this urge to drink a gallon of water every five minutes, then a difficulty swallowing.  I didn’t wait for it to play out, and got in to a doctor right away.  They’ve had so many cases of adult strep throat, they were out of the test kits, and had to dig up an ancient kit that was almost at the technology level where you had to kill the rabbit and look at its ovaries to determine if it was positive or not.  Okay, not that bad, but it was one of those things where we had to sit and stare at a little stick in a vial of chemical solution and wait to see if it changed colors.  And if I wasn’t sick, I would have come up with a great punchline containing “the last time I had to sit and wait to see if the blue line appeared…”

So I got an antibiotic, zithromax, and I googled out all of the side effects, and it’s not much except the usual stomach stuff that you’d get from ordering the five dollar box at Taco Bell.  I don’t take antibiotics that often, because I’m allergic to penicillin and all of the other -cillin drugs.  I think I last took penicillin when I was five or six, and that ended with a stay in the hospital.  I think this was the first time I ever spent a night anywhere away from a parent or family member, and I know it was the first time I’d ever seen a Mennonite kid with his arm cut off from a tractor accident, which was the case for my roommate during part of my stay.

I think the last time I took any antibiotic was maybe ten years ago, a bad cold that I probably wrote about in here somewhere, a thing that eventually turned into strep, or maybe it always was.  All I remember was that it was during a time when my stupid piece of shit landlord in Queens was not running the heat, and it was definitely a time when you needed the heat, and then the hot water also gave out, so instead of taking a shower or a bath, I’d put every pot and pan on the stove, fill them with water, and then bathe by standing in a plastic bucket in the kitchen and sort of washclothing it and pouring this hot water from the stove over me, which is damn fine behavior to engage in when it’s 48 degrees in your house and you’re hacking away at a death cold.  I also remember trying to drink diet soda and loathing it, because someone told me at some point that drinking regular Coke was just going to feed sugar to that bacteria colony breeding in my tonsil area.  And I tried to gargle with apple cider vinegar, which is supposed to be some kind of damn miracle cure, but it usually just made me gag.

I haven’t been writing much in here, because I’ve been saving all of the crazy for this book I’m writing, which is well underway, aside from the whole thing about being sick.  If you graphed my success at writing versus the word count, it’s definitely a bell curve with the middle being in the thousands-word range, which means writing a hundred thousand words is definitely way out there to the right where that bell threatens to hit the axis again.  I’ve found that if I just write and write, by the time I get 30,000 words into it, I’ve completely forgotten what I’ve written in chapter one.  And when I start to keep an outline is when I start to get distracted, because I start to think about plot and arc and proportions and golden ratios and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theory, and I get derailed dealing with all of that shit.  So it’s a balancing game.  And it’s hard to keep writing here with all of that balancing going on, but I feel a need to get back to it.

It’s also starting to get nice enough outside to crack open a window or two during the day, which throws me, because that smell of fresh air, the beginnings of spring, the mid-afternoon sunshine after a brief Bay area rain shower, that’s the kind of stuff that throws me down an emotional k-hole. It has me teleporting back to random spring days in 1993 or in Seattle or whatever else, and I can spend all month digging through old journals or old emails trying to find some thread to pull me back into that.  And that also makes me think about writing about some of that nostalgia, about trying to find some structure again like the NecroKonicon that I can use to briefly riff about those times when I think about Garcia’s Pizza or the guy I knew at Ball State who was growing weed in the suspended ceiling of his dorm room, or the feeling when I got into a primer-black $300 Camaro in 1987 and drove to drive nowhere, just to get through that side of a Black Flag tape and kill another 88-cent gallon of gas.  Sometimes I think I should start another blog or maybe a wiki or tumblr or something else as a way to link together all of this shit.  I’ve tried multiple times to write a big epic novel containing all of this, but I also think in many ways the big epic novel is dead, or at least in deep sleep, and it’s all about the randomness of small pieces.  Maybe.

I’m writing this from the comfort of my bed, while on my old computer, the 2007 MacBook.  Talk about nostalgia – I remember being in Denver that summer, selling off all of my old, dust-collecting toys on eBay to get together the cash for this thing.  Seems like yesterday, but this machine is slowly yellowing and wearing and that little beach ball spins more and more every time I try to load two things at once.  That brand new, top-of-food-chain MacBook Pro is about to turn a year old, and is now displaced by a faster, sexier model that costs less.  In three more years, that thing will be the backup beater machine, and some 32-core beast with 64 gigs of memory and no moving parts whatsoever will be business as usual.  This is the dance we do.


2 responses to “Rare reports of tongue discoloration”

  1. John Sheppard Avatar
    John Sheppard

    I remember you writing about your Queens illness, but I'm not sure if it was in email form to me or on the blog.

    My brother bought me an 11-inch Macbook Air, which is all sorts of awesome. I'm thinking of finding a solid-state drive for Helen's Mac Mini to liven the thing up a bit.

  2. I sometimes wish I would have kept my original Mac Mini, to load it up drive-wise and use it as some kind of TV appliance. I've now got my living room stereo hooked up to an AirPort Express so I can beam audio to it from the other room. Works great for shooting audio or a baseball game over to speakers when I'm in the kitchen. (Doesn't work as great when, in said game, Ubaldo Jimenez gives up 7 runs in 4 innings.)