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Thursday, March 03, 2005

(Cough, cough)

This is the cold that never ends. It is some extra-virulent strain and I am not completely sure, but I think perhaps some kind of biological terrorist attack has been unleashed upon us. Don't want to alarm you or anything, but this is no regular cold. For one thing I have not lost my voice, much to everyone's dismay, which is standard procedure for me and can typically be brought on by a mere sneeze. Instead, I can hardly put two words together without blasting out a braying hack that scares the heck out of anyone within earshot. Today I had to run out of the waiting room of the orthodontist when a coughing fit seized me and I couldn't catch my breath. I was waiting for someone to call 911 or try the Heimlich maneuver, convinced I must be dying. Bird flu? Pneumonia? Consumption?

And with that in mind, while we were up in Boston last spring on our Colonial American History Road Trip, my cousin Beth Anne obtained burial records from the historical society for the Westerly Burial Grounds, a neighborhood cemetery with graves going back to the early 17th century. The list noted the cause of death, if known, of the various occupants. G, navigating with the list, stopped at one grave and announced, "this poor guy died of constipation." She had misread "consumption." We all agreed that would be a terrible way to go.

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