When I bow my head at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year, it’ll probably be because I ate too much turkey and drank too much wine and accidentally put myself into a tryptophan- and alcohol-induced coma.
But if I can stay awake, I’m going to take a few minutes to thank God for giving me a loving wife and family, and for allowing the good and clever candy makers at Russell Stover to invent the dark chocolate marshmallow Santa Claus. They’re melt-in-your mouth good, and on sale two-for-a-dollar at Walgreen’s pharmacy.
Most of all, though, I’m going to thank God for saving me from the deadly Ebola virus.
The deadly Ebola virus is one of nature’s simplest and most dangerous life forms. To use a sporting analogy, which I don’t recommend doing unless you’re desperate for ideas, the deadly Ebola virus is the Mike Tyson of viruses—not the kinder, gentler Mike Tyson who infamously nibbled on opponents’ ears, but the infamously enraged Mike Tyson who knocked his foes to the canvas like they were nerdy infectious-disease scientists instead of professional boxers.
The deadly Ebola virus doesn’t merely punch you in the face until your eyes swell shut and your battered soul starts drifting toward the happy halls of Valhalla. It rapidly pierces and then explodes almost every cell in your body, shutting down your brain and chewing through your guts until they look like puréed blood pudding. There is no medical treatment for the deadly Ebola virus and the hemorrhagic fever it causes, and about nine out of 10 people who are infected with it die within two weeks, usually falling face-first into black pools of their own blood and vomit that they involuntarily excrete from every bodily orifice (yes, even that one).
Scientists believe the deadly Ebola virus thrives in warm, damp places like the rotting jungles and slimy caves of central Africa. But it’s cropped up in America, too, and I figure it could just as easily live in our homes. It could be hiding in the stubborn, slimy band of dark goo at the base of the kitchen faucet, for example, or silently multiplying in the mysterious, shadowy crack between the stove and kitchen counter that oozes with rotting turkey grease, spilled cranberry sauce, soggy grocery-store receipts and old socks.
In my case, the source of the deadly Ebola virus was the toilet in our master bathroom. The toilet’s filler valve broke, and because I’m both handy and poor, I decided to replace it myself instead of calling a plumber to risk his life fixing it.
Bathrooms are inherently dank—not unlike the African jungle—and I’m sure toilets are natural breeding grounds for germs. Yes, they seem relatively safe under normal operating conditions, especially if you’re a guy and you can stand 3 feet away from them to do your business, gingerly using your left foot to lift the lid and flush.
But in order to replace a toilet’s guts, you’re basically forced to have dirty-hot sex with the commode, groping around in the dark like a virgin groom on his honeymoon for things you can’t see and certainly don’t understand. And after 3 sweaty hours of this nuptial piss, I was covered head-to-toe with patches of what I can only describe as disease-laden glop, some of it greenish-yellow glop, some of it brownish-red glop and some of it jet-black glop that wouldn’t wash off my hands with ordinary soap.
Because I’d recently been reading about the deadly Ebola virus, I was pretty much 100 percent sort of positive that I’d certainly most probably just infected myself with the deadly Ebola virus.
I knew the deadly Ebola virus’ early symptoms include headache, fever, bloodshot eyes and nausea. Those symptoms—not much worse than a hangover, really—are quickly followed by extreme pain, bruising, malaise and then the final rush to the face plant into the horrible puked-up wreckage of your own innards.
So I waited, nervously.
I was on a grim death vigil.
And I waited some more, anxiously.
Time slowed to a crawl. I heard the slow ticking of the clock in the family room. I saw dust motes floating lazily in the air. The afternoon light streaming through the window assumed an ethereal quality that gave everything it touched a golden, iridescent glow.
But nothing happened.
No bloodshot eyes.
No nausea, although I felt a little queasy when I thought about drowning in a pool of my own blood and vomit. If I could choose my preferred way of dying, it would never include drowning in a pool of my own blood and vomit.
Hours went by.
Hours turned into days.
Days turned into weeks, and nothing suspicious happened at all except that I got itchy whenever I thought about the glop that pretty much 100 percent sort of positively most probably infected me with the deadly Ebola virus. But itching isn’t a symptom of the deadly Ebola virus, and I always get itchy when I think I’m sick.
Then Thanksgiving Day arrived and I realized with indescribable relief that I’m almost certainly free of the deadly Ebola virus.
I’m still alive.
And that’s truly something to be thankful for.
I hope all of you are also free of the deadly Ebola virus this Thanksgiving, and that you also take a moment during this festive holiday season to thank God for sparing you from drowning in a pool of your own blood and vomit. Or that if you do drown in a pool of your own blood and vomit, it’s because you want to, and not because the deadly Ebola virus made you do it.