Hi everybody! Welcome to another edition of Bad Sandwich Chronicles Beyond Thunderdome. If you like what you read here, please consider subscribing. For the price of one cocktail a month or one mid tier dinner a year, you get access to twice as much action. For those of you who already subscribe, thank you so much. You are my favorite children. Okay, let’s get to it.
Since schools opened and then suddenly closed because everyone remembered that there’s still a pandemic afoot, I thought it would be cool to do a little roundup of various diseases and what they mean to us as a collective organism. Keep in mind, I’m a doctor and all of this is thoroughly vetted and will probably be coming out in a medical journal soon. Anyway, so you say you have....
Plague (AKA Black Death)
Plague! We’re starting right at the top, folks. Welcome to the teen years of the Common Era! Here’s my house. As you can see, it’s a loosely assembled pile of trash. I work in these fields roughly 19 hours a day harvesting turnips or some shit, and if I don’t harvest enough, some lord comes by and chops off my head without even getting off his horse. People dump their turds on me due to that’s the most advanced sanitation system we have. My wife died of old age when she was 12. These are my sixteen children. Those twelve in the pile? Oh, they’re dead.
What’s this now? The plague, you say? I don’t know that word. Oh, so it’s also called the Black Death? Perfect. Sounds manageable. My life was way too easy before. Thanks, God, who, by the way is also my doctor, since prayer is the only medicine we have. Any chance that wheelbarrows full of corpses will play a role in this “plague” you’ve smitten us with, God? Ah, great. It’s just how we do in 1349, y’all!
Well, not gonna lie, this is a tough one. On one hand, it’s a deadly terrible disease that people say makes it feel like your lungs are made of glass and a lot of times if you get it, you die, and if you don’t, often your organs can be fucked up for life. But on the OTHER hand, it doesn’t exist at all and everyone is either a coward or in on a conspiracy because we FUCKING LOVE LIVING LIKE THIS? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?????? In WHAT universe would ANYONE want this to be the way shit is?
This is a disease that you don’t even have to have and it can ruin your life. It’s pretty versatile in that way. Whether your relationship with your significant other was barely hanging on by a thread before this or you had a new meatloaf cupcake restaurant you’d just opened, or you...I don’t know...play guitar and sing in live settings for a living, your life is now ruined and you didn’t even have to get sick and die. Thanks COVID, and thank YOU, COVID deniers for making sure this waking nightmare never ends.
Pssshhh. This isn’t even really a disease. It’s a skin condition. Fun fact, did you know that for forever, until the 60’s, herpes was literally thought of as a skin condition and then the pharma companies that make the treatment pills came in with a scare campaign and called it a shameful social disease and a disgusting deforming pox on your junk that could never go away and we all just went “oh, it is? Okay. We believe that now,” so here we are, essentially making people with occasional dick zits feel like they’re unloveable sinners. Real cool world we got here.
I know some folks who have herpes and to the LAST they all are like “oh, it’s not a big deal at ALL. It just kinda sucks to convince someone else it’s not a big deal,” which makes sense, based on the above fun fact and resulting lame puritanical associations.
Another tidbit: Like COVID, you can have this and never ever have a symptom, which, uh, okay? I don’t totally know, but so far, this seems like the best disease on this list, which, granted, not saying much, but from what I understand, this is all stigma and very little actual ‘disease’ except of course in those cases that come up when you google image search it. To those, I can only say ohhhhh wow. That is definitely a whole different field of active volcanoes, as the old saying goes.
Flu sucks. You get it and you either go “oh shit! Apparently I’ve NEVER had the flu before,” and you suffer through a malady the likes of which you feel could murder you at any moment, or you just die. People toss the word ‘flu’ around a lot. They call everything the flu, even if it’s just a bad cold or a case of herpes. When you actually get the flu, son, you KNOW you have the flu. Flu is like a big dick, if you THINK it’s big, it’s just something normal, if you KNOW it’s big, that’s the flu.
This disease, hard to spell, but remarkably easy to get. Drink some bad water: boom. Drink too many beers: boom. Eat a couple of chili dogs: you get the idea. This one’s funny, because it’s actually EXTREMELY deadly if you’re not living in the modern world, which is, as I said, funny. We joke about diarrhea as a very bad thing to come down with during a one night stand. Meanwhile, in some small village in India someone’s shitting out their organs and praying in vain that someone is gonna come through with some bananas and clean water. But, alas, they will not. Another death, courtesy of diarrhea.
Seriously, consider that: In a lot of places diarrhea is still a death sentence. Here people literally joke about how they can fit into their pants again after a weekend bout with having the shits. Personally, I don’t mind anything that feels like it’s getting all the bad stuff out of me, as long as I’m always by a single shooter bathroom that I trust, but that’s a LITTLE like saying that you can fit into your high school prom dress again thanks to AIDS. It’s at least a little heartless, to put it mildly.
In short, diarrhea, very regional. It’s like wearing blackface, kinda. If you’re in a place like in your house, it’s still fucking disgusting, but you’ll probably be fine. In the wrong place, however, you will end up dead.
Rotavirus (known commonly as stomach flu)
Okay, I spoke a little hastily up there when I said that I like anything that feels like it’s getting the bad stuff out of me, bc this is the WORST. Laying in bed, feeling that tired relief of having just barfed and shit out the exact same thing at the same time, only to slowly feel the dizzying nausea build until there you are, FREEZING, running to your garbage can/toilet system where you’ll shiver, be dizzy, cry, do horribly, violently disgusting things, and eventually calm down for a second, only to realize that you have about 3 minutes until this whole routine happens again. I hate this, but it WILL get me back into that kimono I couldn’t fit into yesterday, if you get my meaning.
I don’t know...it’s some bumps, they itch. I feel like you get ice cream. You’re a kid. You get it once. It’s over. Sounds okay. Except it’s not like that anymore, right? Now motherfuckers are getting chicken pox multiple times and then getting shingles too (which sounds like a very very bad disease)? Seems like between the murder hornets and the COVID and this guy being our president and Beruit exploding and the largest mass eviction in this country’s history on the horizon, your precious ‘god’ could have just given us the usual deal we always had on chicken pox, right? But Noooooooooooo. Had to crank it up a notch with a new 21st century model. Marketing people ruin everything.
I don’t THINK I’ve ever had this, but I can’t remember for sure. Heyyyyyooooo! I’m kidding. I laugh to keep from crying here. This one is terrible. This one is bad to have, I’m guessing, but it’s TERRIBLE to have to deal with. To have someone you love succumb to this is pure torture. There’s not a lot funny to say about this, and I’m already feeling kinda bad about the joke up top, so lemme say this: In Denmark they have an enclosed mini “village” for people suffering from Alzheimers and other forms of dementia and it’s real adorable (is that patronizing? Listen up and decide before you shit on me having affection for something, eh?) in that it has a little “store” you can cross a “street” to walk to, as this is a thing that people with these sorts of cognitive issues tend to gravitate towards, but the big hit is the inclusion of bus stops around the “town,” even though, I guess this goes without saying, there is no bus.
As you no doubt know if you ever saw Ghost World or if you live in a city with a lot of poorer old people, Alzheimer's types LOVE waiting for the bus. That’s their shit. This place in Denmark has taken that all into account in a safe enclosed environment. Is that not sweet and adorable? And does it not make you furious that your parents will someday be in a roach infested tenement with nurses who steal their medications because a few people in this country profit heavily from making healthcare of any kind prohibitively expensive? Ah...this is getting heavy. My apologies. Let’s move on to…
Yipes! This is cancer. Don’t know about you guys, but this isn’t a word that I personally want to hear coming out of a doctor’s mouth ever except for at the end of the phrase, “well, you definitely don’t have…” Still, there’s something to be said, I’d imagine, for having to persepctivize your life like this. You hear you have cancer, you immediately think “oh. I’m gonna die soon,” then they say “but we caught it in time. We’ll just have to cut out your nut or remove this tumor” or whatever, and you go “yeah, right. I’m dead.” and then you go through whatever it is and you kinda...I don’t know. It’s weird for me to talk about this authoritatively, since I really truly don’t know, but it seems like that’s the shit that makes you realize for real how every day is a gift and that’s when you start going buckwild, in the way that most suits what you want to get out of life, right?
I dunno. I knew a guy who got a heart transplant and was doing coke the week he got out of the hospital, so I don’t know that these life lessons are universal. Still, manageable cancer, better than…
I mean, come on. We don’t need to talk about this. We’re all gonna be dying of it soon enough, right? This is bad. Let’s just move on. I watched some late stages of this shit not too long ago and it seemed like a pretty bad time. I do think it’s funny that some people ARE cancers, as in “well, I’m a cancer, so that means I’m really loyal,” which, in fairness, bad Cancer will stick with you until the end, I guess, so they at least got the symptoms of your bullshit zodiac shit right, if nothing else.
Um. Cool way to identify, by the way. I don’t know who picked the names for the Zodiac signs, but they definitely hated the shit out of people born in late June and early July. “Oh, you?” (looks the local goatherd with the dreamy dick and wandering eye up and down with relentless disgust) “you’re a cancer. Never forget that.”
This chronic malady is considered by some to be unbearable and can lead to deep depression. It’s also thought of by SOME to be...how do I put this? It can be the most remarkably freeing, awesome feeling of pain ever. When you’re hungover, you’ve got one job, and that’s to stop being hungover. If you work in a bakery and you’re pulling bread out of the ovens at 4 am, no bueno, but if you’re just waking up on a Sunday, you can be like “yo. I’m hungover. I’m gonna postmates some Mountain Dew and some rum and a sack of White Castles” and really, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something by the time you stop wanting to die. You’ll also be hungover again, but as we say in the medical profession, “Monday is just a finely aged Sunday.”
I know....more of a condition than a disease, but this is a real deal thing and if you’re ugly, like, real deal ugly, your existence is massively hampered and it’s not your fault and there’s no cure and that’s just how it is. They did a study about 20 or so years ago (I refuse to do any research on this whatsoever) and they asked a bunch of attractive women (I don’t know what those standards were, but just bear with me here) if they’d rather lose 20 IQ points or gain 20 lbs, with the understanding that they couldn’t ever take the weight off, and I believe 100% of the respondents picked losing the IQ points.
Now, I’m NOT conflating a mild weight gain with being ugly AT ALL. This is just an example of how fucking obsessed we are with appearance around here. Most of you could gain 20 lbs and still be reasonably in the same universe you inhabit now, in terms of how people perceive you, and some of you would become a lot more attractive, but that’s the point. That’s a minor thing. What if all of a sudden your eyes were uneven and yellow and your skin was bad and you were bald in a weird way and you had a witch nose and gnarly teeth and people couldn’t even look at you because, through no fault of your own, your parents’ alchemy didn’t quite click? Or what if your face just got ripped off by a bear or an earthmover or a fire or something? Regardless, how terrible is that shit?
I feel bad for anyone suffering from any of the things on this list (i mean, except a westerner with diarrhea or someone with mild herpes) but this one truly makes my heart hurt. I don’t like that we’re so into appearance that this makes sense on this list. I don’t like that I personally am immediately drawn to attractive people. I don’t like any of it at all. I’m sure there’s some sort of weird Proud Boy/Darwin bullshit pseudo science that explains this all away, but to me, I think we’re just all kind of cruel and shallow at the end of the day.
And as a result, lots of really fucked up looking people feel like the world is full of evil, shallow shitheads...and, uh...they ain’t wrong. This is a bad one. Answer honestly: if you’re even just passably fine looking, and you had to pick something on this list to have for the rest of your life, however short or long that would be, how many of you would pick “butt ass ugly?” Search your feelings. It’s none of you. You know this to be true. This makes me seriously want to cry and hug some people. Ever see the Elephant Man? Shit’s dark. This is something people live with every moment of their lives and it’s just...it’s not even bad…it’s just that humanity is so ice cold down certain sidestreets.
Okay, that was heavy. Let’s finish this up on an upbeat note:
What’s that you say? A flesh eating virus where your organs disintegrate and fill up your lungs and you bleed out your eyes and you drown in your own skin so you end up like a sleeping bag full of Campbell's chunky soup in your coffin? Sign me the fuck up!
In all seriousness tho...fuuuuuuck this disease. No thanks. This is such a bad one that only like nine people on earth died from it and we all know what it is. Consider that. Bad disease. It’s like some shit that was designed by Mr. Pickles or something. In closing, no thanks, Ebola. You can eat ebola dicks.
That’s all. Thanks everyone! Be nice to one another. Death comes for us all. Wear a mask and avoid it for as long as you can. Pls subscribe if you haven’t yet. It keeps artists like me and “art” like this going during this time of plague.