With A Little Help From My Friends

Alternate Title: Weekend At Joely’s¬†

In reality, it was David who should have died last weekend, because Angela and I spent nearly every night coughing on him in stereo. We had grown up beds and David was on the air mattress between us just being blanketed by our expelled phlegmy horribleness. His immune system must have been fortified against attack by the constant regimen of Taco Bell and boxed macaroni he crams into his crambox. His body is so used to being force fed disgusting poison bullshit, that a few germs and viri must seem like a packet of mild sauce.

I never been as sick during a convention as I was during Emerald City Comicon last weekend. I lost my voice immediately and spent the entire weekend trying to interact with fans and fellow cartoonists alike in garbled, mangled cough-whispers and hack-spasmed Tuvan throat singing. I almost broke down during dinner one night when the frustration of noting being able to be heard or understood, constantly having to repeat myself and more often that not just NOT saying anything when I had something to say started to get to me. I hadn’t really thought about how much of my identity was hinged on my voice. Take away my ability to command a room with my voice, tell stories, make jokes, sing, etc. and there isn’t much of ME left. It was pretty depressing, but my friends certainly helped me make the best of it.

COMMENTERS: Have you (or anyone close to you) ever lost an ability and had to relearn it, or otherwise compensate for it? When I was a kid I broke my right thumb and had to learn how to eat with my left hand. Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it took a lot of practice and I can still use silverware¬†ambidextrously.

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10 Comments

  1. I worked at JCPenney camera dept in the '70s. One day I lost my voice (not contagious),
    so my co-worker made a small sign to hang from my name badge. "No speaka de english".
    You wouldn't believe how many people spoke louder/slower at me.
    They didn't bat an eye about me working there and not speaking the language?!
    In Southern California?! D'oh!

    • I was considering having 4 signs to hold up:

      YES

      NO

      $20

      I DONT KNOW WHAT THAT IS (in response to being asked to draw some weird anime thing)

  2. I did lose my ability to feel empathy for others, in compensation I did develop a good sense of sarcasm at others expense though. So score there at least.

  3. Had a terrible bike accident (bicycle, not motorcycle) and lost all my emotional (sequential) memory resulting in losing the ability to love.

    Seriously.

    Still working on that, but I think I have it beat (since I FEEL like I'm in love now…)

  4. On two non-consecutive occasions I've managed to mess up my right hand leaving it unusable for a week at a time.

    Being right-handed and not being able to use it for anything whatsoever was both a great challenge (when it was something I wanted) and a great excuse to slack off (when it was something I didn't want).

    The worst though was work – doing programming or just anything at the computer was so frustrating it was almost painful. I normally type around 100wpm and having to do it one-handed was brutally slow.

    I never really mastered handwriting with the left hand, but I did get pretty good at using chopsticks with my left hand.

  5. Lost my voice 1 hour into a weekend military exercise.
    Had to get my driver to read my note scribbles on the radio for me.

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