Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Robbie Burns Day

To all you Scots or Scots-at-heart, I wish ye all a Happy Robert Burns Day. Normally I’m in a jovial mood on this day of the year – turning my thoughts to Haggis and a nice glass of the Glenmorangie whilst reading lines from my favourite of the Romantic poets. Today I’m not jovial. Today I’m under the weather and pissy. I’m still recovering from an on-again, off-again head cold (mostly on-again) and a bone-numbing exhaustion, both of which plagued me all weekend long.

Not that I had time to be sick this weekend, as all three days were action packed. Friday night I was off to Duggans Brewery for drinks with friends. Despite making a reservation, we arrived to see a sign on the restaurant door that read ‘Closed for a private function’. Because the restaurant couldn’t get a hold of us to let us know about the change of plans, they did honour our reservation, allowed us to join the party, and even gave us drink tickets and free food. I would’ve had even more fun had I not been so feverish and been able to stay sentient for the majority of the evening. My friends have since gone on to (rightly) mock me on Facebook. Comments have included ‘He was asleep the whole time!’ and ‘I don’t think I saw his eyes once after 9!’ This is what I get for drinking on an empty stomach and with a temperature.

Saturday night my parents were visiting Toronto from PEI, and so a crew of us went out for supper in lovely Greek Town. Because they drove up (intrepid, those two), my folks were able to bring me the one Christmas present that was too large to fit in my luggage when I flew back to Toronto last month: a giant rice cooker. So giant, in fact, that we had to hide it under the restaurant table until we were done eating. So if anyone saw a group of happy, well-fed people walking down Danforth Ave. on Saturday night lugging a giant cardboard box toward the Pape subway station, that was us.

Sunday, RR and I headed to Hamilton for a lovely going-away party for one of her friends. By the middle of the day I was convinced I had this whole illness thing licked, but then woke up this morning feeling like someone had broken into my apartment and beat me up in my sleep.

So here I am, feeling the shitty and sorry for myself on the great Robbie Burns Day, scowling at the sky and checking every street corner to see if it has one of Martin Amis’ ‘euthanasia booths’ that I could use. I don’t think Robert Burns ever wrote a poem about being stuffed up/feverish/hung over/mocked by friends; the closest thing I’ve found is this piece, “Address to the Toothache”. While my teeth are (for now) perfectly fine, it does sum up the spirit of how the rest of me is feeling today. Enjoy!

Address to the Toothache
by Robert Burns

My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang,
An' thro' my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or argues freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,
Our neibor's sympathy can ease us,
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee-thou hell o' a' diseases,
Aye mocks our groan.

A'down my beard the slavers trickle
I cast the wee stools o'er the meikle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup,
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup!

O' a' the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's rak'd i' the mools,
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools,
Thou bear'st the gree!

Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell,

Amang them a'!
O thou grim mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!

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