The Macarena and the Head Cold |  Faith in the 7-to-10 Day Cure

THE MACARENA IS  feline. She is often mistaken for a Cheetah, a Rabbit, a big Raccoon, or anything but a Lap Kitty. She has been described in previous columns as a dear sweet honey bunch and a dreadful animal that drags in vermin. The Macarena is a Princess because she says she is. The Macarena sleeps all day long and still eats dinner from a porcelain bowl, thus disproving the saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  

When disturbed, The Macarena hisses. Sometimes she hisses for no apparent reason. If she purrs it means “give me food.” But if she hisses it might mean “Don’t touch me,” or “I prefer albacore to mackerel,” or “Please open the door.” You never know. Most Macarenas eat indoors, but they prefer fresh air. 

The Bitzy, a smaller version of The Macarena, prefers to be indoors as long as there is someone else around to torment by jumping on their neck and then racing down the hallway and hiding under the bed. The Bitzy is devoted to her human keeper and often scratches her severely when mistaken for a domestic Lap Kitty. There are no Lap Kitties in North America. 

Both The Bitzy and The Macarena will eat a rat, but not if the rat has consumed half a bottle of 409, some RainX, a bunch of Drione, and several black plastic film canisters. Such a rat visited the garage and died without their help. Rats are another column altogether, and as long as they have not died in the wall of my house, I would just as soon not talk about them. 

The Macarena will stalk a Tom Cat, even though she always ends up the worse for it. Which is what happened at Thanksgiving. She limps as a result. She was taken to the vet three times, and the mysterious limp could not be cured. Despite the total inability to behave like a Lap Kitty, The Macarena is still looked upon as an ever-loving doll and everyone hoped a Christmas Miracle would restore her to her normal gait. 

The Head Cold is worse than a broken arm. It is often mistaken for allergies or hangover or general stupidity, almost anything other than a runny nose. The Head Cold (pronounced hed-code) is often referred to as a common cold, because people often claim to have one in order to stay home from work. 

The Head Cold does not allow you to sleep all day long, due to profuse nasal-passage drainage and sneezing. If you do manage to drop off, by stuffing the end of a tissue into each nostril, someone will come along and wake you up and tell you to get back to work, you tramp. When you ask someone with a head cold a question, they give you a dumb look, which reinforces the notion that they are not sick, only stupid. 

Most Head Colds appear in January, following the prolonged winter holiday season, and they are never welcome. There are any number of cures for the Head Cold, and they all involve a week to 10 days: Western allopathic doctors recommend plenty of fluids and bed rest for 7 to 10 days. The Chinese prescribe Chin Koo pills twice a day, to drive the Chi to the outside of the body and keep the disease from settling in the deeper tissues. Start at the onset of the cold and continue for 7 to 10 days. East Indians have several remedies, such as Maha Sudarshan churna, a bitter concoction of powdered herbs designed to reduce fever and rid the body of toxins in 7 to 10 days. Granny on the old TV show The Beverly Hillbillies had an ancient mountain formula for curing the common cold. Everyone expected to make a million dollars from the secret, which turned out to be a dark, evil-smelling elixir that cured your cold in 7 to 10 days. It seems to me that a diet of French fries and malted milk shakes would work, as long as you continued for 7 to 10 days. 

Head Colds come on almost instantaneously and do not leave the way they came. In a way, you could say a Head Cold is similar to The Macarena’s leg injury, because neither was cured by a Christmas Miracle and both could use a sunny spot in which to rest quietly for 7 to 10 days. Possibly forever. Or at least until Valentine’s Day.

Visit the Index for more essays by Candance Booth and other witty Iowa writers.