I am sick, my kids are sick, my wife is sick, and grandma is sick. I feel like there should be a medieval woodblock print of my family where everything is oddly disproportioned and a flying skeleton is causing our death by miasmas. I think I just mixed several eras and art styles there but I don’t care; after all I may be dying.
CDC REPORT DAY1
Our oldest, Dapper, brought home a sniffle a couple days ago. He gave the sniffle to the baby (now known as The Kraken) and the baby became the monkey in Outbreak. Green snot poured from his nose. Little did we realize, the boys were crafting a biological weapon any third world dictator would give his general’s left nut for.
So now I have to leave town for a few days for work. The wife and mother in law are already showing signs of infection. “It’s a cold,” I tell myself, “how bad could it get?” As I pack, my wife debates taking the baby to the pediatrician, a woman famous for the line “it’s a virus, give it time, bring him back if he still has a fever.” I mention this fact, and say “we can probably ride it out.” The universe takes it as a personal challenge.
CDC REPORT DAY2
I’m in a van at Sony Studios in Culver City leaving for Bakersfield to shoot a reality show pilot when my wife calls. “He has an ear infection and is on antibiotics” Universe: 1, Me: 0. I feel a slight tickle in the back of my throat. Midway through the day she calls back, I mistake her for Tom Waits. We get to Bakersfield, load in and prep gear then catch a minor league hockey game. Go Condors! I get a series of increasingly grumpy texts that are entirely unsympathetic to my complaints about the restaurant scene in Bakersfield. Also, as a side note, my wife is a physician at a top hospital and basically works all the time when not immediately needed for parenting.
CDC REPORT DAY3
Dr. Wife now sounds like Tom Waits after a bender. The baby is sick as hell and taking grandma down with him. Dapper, or “Typhoid Mary,” is fine. My wife somehow manages to take him to swim lessons and gym class because she’s basically incapable of sloth. I, on the other hand, almost never get sick but, when I do, I’m a total pussy.
We begin filming at a drag race. I’m dealing with a scratchy throat, but that’s usually the extent illness for me so I drink a Gatorade and eat some fruit. It’s freezing cold and raining and we had a 3:45 am start time. I dare to complain. Here are my texts from that day:
Me, whining: “Why was I up at 3am?”
Dr. Wife: “Oh me too! And 1 and 11pm and 10 and 5am and now!!!!”
“Why Kraken, why?” I plead. “He’s a monster”
Dr. Wife “My phlegm is dark brown, his is bright green. Yeah go virus go”
Dr. Wife “I feel like death”
Me, backpedaling: “I got Dapper a Clay Smith Cams shirt. How is he?”
Dr. Wife: “Dapper is fine. He’s not even tired. He is the opposite of tired. The Kraken is not well, and I feel like I have the flu minus the fever. Whole body aches, chills, headache”
10 minutes later: “Oh wait… add fever”
5 minutes later: “When are you home tomorrow?”
Me: “evening, hoping afternoon if this guy loses early”
This is what the production manager told me. The plan is to shoot tomorrow until around six or so depending when our driver loses, drive back to LA and be home in time to maybe eat dinner. Which I will pick up on my way home present to my beautiful and not at all terrifying wife.
CDC REPORT DAY4
I feel like shit. The scratch in my throat tore through my body overnight and set every nerve on plague alert. But I chug a Red bull and chase it with a grapefruit juice. It’s 6am and I’m ready for more drag racing reality action. I should also mention that I’m a sound guy and my job when on location is often to carry 30lbs of poorly balanced gear in a bag strapped to my chest. What happens next is a nightmare. Our guy keeps f’ing winning. He wins heat after heat and ends up winning the goddamned day. I work nearly an eighteen-hour day and now I have to stay the night in Bakersfield because the show is bleeding money on overtime and they are desperate to get me off the clock. I want to poison the driver…or cough on him.
It’s way past when I said I’d be home. My cell reminds me of that.
Dr. Wife: “Should I sign these divorce papers? Or are you coming home”
Me: “The damn driver keeps winning”
Dr. Wife: “The past two weeks I’ve dealt with sick kids w you gone and me sick and working full time. You’re always gone and it’s making me sick. Cut his f’ing brakes and come home NOW.”
Me: “production just said they need everybody to spend the night, also they use parachutes”
Dr. Wife: “?!?!?!?!?”
I could actually feel the phone get warmer. I’m propped up on painkillers and energy drinks at this point. I go to the production manager and ask her when we will be back in LA tomorrow. “8:30 at the latest, tomorrow’s shoot is on an airstrip and we don’t have enough lights so when we get near sunset it’s a wrap”
I cough on her… twice.
CDC REPORT DAY5
My home had gone radio silent. This is not good. I’m the walking dead, and my second sound person has gone home to save money. We also lost an assistant camera person who woke up and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t open one eye. My only revenge is that I’m watching the disease begin to show its face on some of the producers… Bwahahahahah. Also I’m getting an ear infection now which is hell on it’s own but if you wear headphones and a surveillance kit for a living, it’s a special hell.
Dr. Wife: “I now have conjunctivitis and night sweats… good morning”
Me: “I have an ear infection”
I get home at 10:30pm that night. I’m a zombie. My poor wife is reading to Dapper who doesn’t sleep. Through a closed door I hear the baby cough like my grandfather clearing his throat… on his deathbed. Later that night I pick up antibiotics at a 24hr pharmacy.
CDC REPORT DAY6
Dr. Wife is coughing up blood. I’m coughing up every color of lung butter you can think of. Grandma now sounds like she needs a tracheotomy, baby sounds like he smokes, and Dapper is perky as hell. I’m beginning to suspect Dapper concocted this whole disease as a way to punish us for sending him to daycare. He brought it home and, like a mad scientist, forged his ultimate weapon in the baby.
Just thought I’d share. I’ll let the world know if an antidote can be found. Otherwise, look forward to days of peace and prosperity under the iron-fisted rule of Dapper the Immune.