Monday, August 28, 2006

I think I'm getting the black lung, pop.

No one likes openly admitting to the whole world (and the internets besides) that their children have personality traits that are much like running fingernails down a chalkboard. It reflects badly on a person...

Here I am and I'm admitting it. My oldest child is sometimes a real eejit. I'm rather frustrated with one particular aspect of his personality lately.

For the last three years my boy (twelve, new to junior high) has fancied himself as unique and special among all human beings because he thinks he's stricken with a disease that will ruin him for all of his lifetime on Earth.

The disesase? Asthma.

Oh sure, asthma can really effect a person, no question about that. It can really be debilitating! My son, however, doesn't have asthma. He thinks he does because it's easier to claim this as an identity rather than working on his talents and character.

This is a particular pet peeve of mine when other people do it. It's extra endearing when my own son does it.

He's used asthma medications in the past when some mild germies settled in his lungs once. That was three years ago with first a cold topped with a week long bout of strep. Nowadays he works himself into a dramatic huff and puff tizzy to avoid going to sleep on school nights. He scrunches up his shoulders and claims in the voice of the dying that he's wheezing. He doesn't know that wheezing makes noises and changes your breathing patterns. The tizzy stops as soon as the Primatene Mist is promised.

He's not had a tizzy all summer. It's because there is no school in summer. He never has one any summer. He never has one when he's doing something he enjoys.

Yesterday I had to call his dramatics to his attention.

He was watching TV when a commercial calling for donations to the American Diabetes Association, to find a cure for type I diabetes, came on. Two of my sister's children have type I diabetes, as well as my Aunt Evelyn who passed away from complications from the disease in 1998. My son knows that diabetes is a swell disease, with a daily regime, that sets a person apart from the norm...but it's disease he can't lay claim to. After the commercial he turned to me with wide misty eyes and a slack mouth and said, "I wisssshhhh there were a currrrrrre for asthma!"

Geezus H. on a cracker, kid, not this crapola again...

I made it perfectly clear at that point that he doesn't have asthma, hasn't been taken to the doctor with asthmatic symptoms in years, doesn't have any prescribed asthma medications or an emergency inhaler... and he runs around ALL DAY LONG in the dusty desert with nary a huff or a puff or a wheeze to show for it. One more word about his supposed asthma and I'd remove one of his lungs for him. Then, maybe, I'd give him an aspirin.

The problem my declaration leaves him with is that he has to set himself apart from the rest of the human race by his works and his beliefs. This is difficult for him because he's always been a child that will spend hours deciding on the best way to get out of doing something or only doing to the level of passable with the least effort. If his passable isn't regarded highly he's sorely disappointed.

Justin and I have six more years to try to instill some kind of a value for excellence in him before we shove him out the door. It's not about the's about the process.

Here's to hoping he doesn't become the most excellent hypochondriac this side of the Mississippi.


  1. Last night, there was a theater full of actors, actresses, directors, producers and their lackeys paying hommage with a statue to the excellence your son is displaying.

    You're going to look lovely in a Vera Wang with a plunging backline and a cool mil worth of diamonds dripping off your various parts as his escort when he's 16 years old!


  2. Bo might have a good point there. You might also try telling him that someone on your blog said they had heard a good way to help control asthma is to give up eating deserts and other sweats. That would get the attention of most kids I know.

    Wouldn't it be great if they could bring Laugh In back, set in today's political climate? As to the Mae West problem, look at the cashiers at McDonalds. They don't enter numbers, but just punch the button for the correct burger you order. They are usually confused if you give them enough extra change to get a quarter back rather than a handful of change. Maybe Justin can work to get some classes on everyday life and common sense into the circulum for kids.

  3. When I was in college, I actually asked a PA for a handicapped sticker because of my asthma. "It makes me breath too hard to walk all the way to class," I whined. thank God he said NO, and that what I REALLY needed was to walk MORE, not less.


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