Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Man Man

In 2007 I was bitten in my sleep.


Someone I know has MRSA. From a bug bite. Then last night I was bitten by a mosquito. And then spent a few hours wondering when the symptoms of MRSA/malaria/yellow monkey fever would begin to ravage me. Fortunately - because I'm tough as ten bears - my body rejected the inevitable onslaught. And all I had to endure was a slightly itchy ankle. For those of you who haven't collapsed swooning, I want you to know that I'm okay.  I know I know. I can hear you thinking, "but you nearly died!" And, "I'll never stop being amazed at how brave you are." And of course, "Oh Gavin you're so big!"  Yes. I know.

Anyway, I have a confession to make. You see I've been in this situation before. In 2006 I was bitten in my sleep. Not in a sexy way. Not at all. When I woke up my thumb itched. I'd clearly been bitten by something. But even back then - when I was often a bona fide twat to be honest - I had the inkling that I might be tough as ten bears. Maybe just as tough as Bear Grylls if he did actually have MRSA. And after he'd eaten nine gummy bears (washed down with his own piss, no doubt). Regardless - I shrugged off the itchiness and went to work. By the time my break came around my hand looked like a cartoon. Or like someone had blown up a rubber glove so the hand was all massive with very, swollen fingers protruding out. I remember a coworker making me show my manager. And my manager saying that at least I didn't have a scary, red line going from the bite mark all the way up my arm. At which point - squinting in realization - I turned my arm over and we all looked at the thick, dark red line that was etched up my arm all the way to my armpit.

Needless to say when I woke up in Urgent Care my doctor was beside himself. Absolutely giddy he was. He'd never had anyone come in with a spider bite before. And more disgusting than that - he was ecstatic that he was going to stick a giant, cartoon needle (appropriate when you think about it) into my hand and drain it. More importantly he was glad it was me. I know that sounds weird. But first and foremost - we were mates. Which betrays how bloody often I went to see him back then. But we'd bonded very closely over a fast six-month illness I'd had. He was from Germany. And his number one medicine that he'd give me was to take the piss. Don't worry - not with that massive needle. I mean in that way us foreigners bond by making fun of each other - no holds barred. He's still officially the only doctor I've ever hear say, "fuck." And that was while he was prescribing Zoloft. Our relationship was very old fashioned in a sense too. Like the old, parochial doctor/patient relationship people romanticize about the north of England having in the 1950s. Except with a lot less rickets, obviously. Essentially he was James Herriot and I was a horse.

Ricketts ravaged the city of Bolton in 2001.
I remember asking my doctor if he thought perhaps I'd been bitten by a radioactive spider. He said he couldn't rule it out. What I'm about to tell you my shock you so bluntly that it will turn your hair ghost-white. Because, ladies and gentlemen, for the following week I lived believing that I was now Man Spider. I recall one evening being in my bedroom - and if I moved my hand just right - a white, violent shot of organic matter shot across the room. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise. But I came (steady...) to learn that I was not, in fact, Man Spider.

Fast forward several years to a point when I was living alone in my apartment in Westmoreland, NY. And I woke up in the middle of the night and found teeth marks in my own arm. Now, I know it's possible that I'd bitten myself in my sleep. I'm not an arrogant man. Not by any stretch. But I am aware that on occasion I could be considered tasty (seriously - you should see these shoes I bought last week). But I'm not about to eat myself. No. That's for someone else to do. The truth has to be even more shocking than the spider. I'm afraid the only explanation is that on that dark night of the soul that I - Gavin Ten Bears Cheesestick - was bitten by a radioactive man.

And now I have become...... Man Man.


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