Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How I Crashed My Immune System

by Simon

I know quite a few people who live in perpetual cringing terror of catching some nasty bug. They don't shake hands (some give a non sequitur "namaste" gesture instead, while others prefer the Clintonian elbow grab); they have a dispenser of antibacterial liquid rigged into their sleeves like James West's derringer; and they swallow a daily bolus of mysterious, system-enhancing supplements.

I'm not like that; I maintain my health with the time-tested virtues of a positive attitude, gallons of coffee and at least seven hours a day resting on my divan watching premium cable. But sometimes I slip. I'm now enjoying day six of a delightful cold, and I blame it on too much of a good thing.

That good thing? Trayf, my friend.

Cards on the table time: Julia and I don't just celebrate our birthdays. We celebrate the entire birth month (and I've lately been lobbying for the birth quarter, but I don't think I have the votes). My birth month, a veritable orgy of comestibles and libations, came to its 1812 Overture of a climax with a meal at Cobras and Matadors, a tapas joint with a menu that can induce fainting spells in your average gourmand.

Faithful readers of this blog know of my fondness for pig meat. I have written passionate verse in its honor, and thoughts of its golden hue, crisp yet pliant texture and explosive bursts of fatty, salty flavor on the tastebuds forever distract me from whatever task is allegedly at hand. Still, I was half-joking when I asked Julia if she thought it would be possible to have a meal consisting entirely of The Other White Meat.

Some joke. Here's what we had, I kid you not:
  • Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Cabrales and almonds, in a honey-port reduction

  • Bacon-wrapped prawns on toast points in a garlic cream sauce

  • Serrano ham and Manchego sandwiches on Catalan bread

  • Albondigas (veal-pork meatballs)

  • Breaded pork loin stuffed with bacon and ham
In addition to this pork-ucopia, we inhaled socca cakes in honey, beet salad with goat cheese and an onion conserve, a bottle of great wine and several glasses of killer sherry. It was an epic culinary debauch, and I delighted in watching Julia's customary gesture of food-induced ecstasy — her eyes rolling back in her head — almost as much as I enjoyed stuffing my face.

Then we got home and rolled into bed. Then I rolled out of bed. Then I tried to sleep on the couch. My head felt funny. My stomach rumbled ominously. I was visited by the ghosts of St. Augustine, Edith Piaf and Buddy Hackett, none of whom offered much encouragement. No sleep was forthcoming.

Julia is at pains to point out that among the first symptoms I experience with a cold is denial. I try to pawn it off on allergies or some damn thing, because admitting that I'm about to plunge into a vision quest of sniffling, coughing, throat-clearing and general whiny misery is too much to contemplate.

In any case, my immune system crashed like the L.A. power grid during a heatwave. Also, there was a heatwave.

Sera suggested the possibility that God was punishing me for my excessive flouting of the Chosen Peeps' dietary laws. I reject this hypothesis for several reasons. Among them:

1. Julia didn't get sick, and she ate all the same stuff.
2. Why hit me now, when I've been consuming the cloven-hoofed for ages?
3. I don't believe in God.

The question is this: Would I go back and substitute a healthier meal in order to dodge this bout of stuffed-up bullshit? I would not.

And that's what makes me the trayf-lovingest Jew in all of Christendom.

In fact... I could totally go for some bacon right now.


Marilyn said...

Very intresting, indeed. Pity, that my english is so bad, that I could'nt understood a half of this. Have a nice day, anyway!

Simon Glickman and Sera Gamble said...

Marilyn, we suggest you continue to read the blog. You'll achieve a Nabokovian mastery of English in no time.