Blogging with the Flu: It Just Doesn’t Work

Currently, a horrendous, miserable influenza is sweeping through the school I teach at, striking down high schoolers and teachers alike. I, too, have fallen victim to this plague. I fought it as long as I could, but finally, I succumbed. I knew it was time to admit I was sick and stay home when my grading got too merciful (“The American Revolution started in 1879? Oh, I guess that’s close enough – half credit!”) Sadly, there was still a blog post to be written. Try as I might, I could not get the thing written. I tried bribing it, but the post resolutely refused to write itself. I was on my own. What follows is an accurate account of my pathetic attempts to write:

Attempt #1 – Written in Language None Can Comprehend
Here, for the enjoyment and enrichment of all, is my first attempt at a blog entry, copied and pasted in its entirety:

问哈他马克思啊里特瑞阿荣一和人哦投入量一过热阿泰? What 马克思us可恶评突然宁他 和怕个啥,好哦平头哦和阿荣莫惹? What恩田海蓉阿拉蕾三us佛如后人三阿泰啊涕么?
What去阿里贴身的哦饿死他和啊热啊的人恶心配额餐厅听哦色额了阿萍夫人哦没调和怕 个啥in负利率放了大哥大利特冉阿让一个咯容易?

No, I did not accidentally write my post in Chinese (although I do occasionally slip and use a Chinese word when I actually want an English one). What I did, in fact, was to forget that I had my keyboard set to Chinese (I had been emailing a Chinese friend earlier) and then proceed to start typing in English. The result, sad to say, is neither English nor Chinese – the characters really don’t make any sense. Just for fun, I entered what I typed into Google


Asked his Marx Lite Rui the Arong one and people inputs an overheated Ron? What Marx us hateful assessment Ning suddenly afraid Gesha, Ay flat head and Arong Mo provoke? What grace Tian Hairong Ala Lei us Buddhism, such as descendants of three Artest tears? What close to Ali starve to death he and heat of people sick quota Restaurant listen Oh color the amount of A Pingfu people did not reconcile the fear Gesha in negative interest rates put the Big Brother Littleton, Jean Valjean, a slightly easy?

No, I had not intended to type about Marx Lite (what is that, a beer for weight-conscious
Communists?) or overheated Rons, or Buddhism – actually, I meant to type a post about what qualities make a hero intriguing to a female reader. However, after the first failed attempt, I thought a change of topic might work better . . .

Attempt #2 – A Feverish Intake of Shakespeare

I thought perhaps I might review one of my favorite film adaptations of Shakespeare. Kenneth Brannagh’s brilliant cinematic masterpiece Henry V seemed a perfect choice. I could lay buried under a pile of blankets, nursing my mug of mulled tea, while I refreshed my memory of the film. Sadly, fever and Shakespeare do not coincide favorably. For the ten minutes that I attempted to watch the film, my thought processes went something like this:

“What did he just say? Blah blah blah, something something something, A kingdom for a
<cough, cough, cough>
“Oh shoot, what just happened? I was c—”
<cough, cough, cough, HACK! cough, cough, cough>
“Oh great, now I missed more of it – what the heck is that guy saying? I can’t hear a blasted
word of it!”
<cough, cough, cough>
<sniffle, AH-CHOOO! sniffle, snort, wheeze>
“Kenneth Brannagh is soooo dreamy . . . that man’s eye looks sort of like pepperoni . . . I wonder
when that pain medication will decide to kick in?”
<cough, cough, cough, cough, HACK! cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough >

Attempt #3 – Maybe our readers would enjoy a short story?

I took a big, nauseating gulp of the most horrible couch medicine that any country has ever
produced. Yes, the honor of creating this foul concoction goes to China. It has an unappetizing shade of black and has a thick, tar-like texture that refuses to slide willingly down the throat. When I pour it into a spoon, I swear that I can see it breathing. After another hefty dose of the stuff (it does, admittedly, help the cough, although it also saps me of my desire to live), I thought perhaps I might be able to compose a short, creative piece about a little girl who doesn’t want to take her medicine:

“Now, Jenny, open wide and close your eyes. You know your medicine isn’t that bad,” Cynthia instructed her pouting da…

You know you’re sick when you can’t make it through the first line of dialogue! When I
awakened several minutes later, with the imprint of my coffee table etched into my forehead, I decided that I was not inspired enough to continue the story.

Attempt #4 – They Always Say that Honesty Is the Best Policy . . .

And so, dear readers, you have just had the dubious privilege of reading my fourth and final attempt. Yes, I typed up an account of my three failed attempts at a blogpost and called it a successful post. I have a fever of 102 – I believe that I am entitled to do this.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have another massive coughing fit, swallow down some more of that Chinese cough medicine, and then curl up into a miserable little heap on my cough – I mean, couch.


11 thoughts on “Blogging with the Flu: It Just Doesn’t Work

  1. I hope you feel better soon! Being sick is no fun!!

    That’s cool you are living in China and that you speak Chinese. I took two years of it in college. But that was 13 years ago and I haven’t used it since. I remember next to nothing of it. 😦 I would love to learn it again, though. It was fun! The tonal aspect is very challenging, especially since my hearing sucks (of course, having sucky hearing makes listening to my native language hard enough–learning and listening to a foreign one is 15 times worse, lol). I love the Chinese characters and calligraphy, though.

  2. She LIVES!!!!!

    I mean *cough* it’s nice to have you back.

    Though I would very much like to here your opinions on your intended topic (being a female who is intrigued by various types of heroes), I think the turn out of your first attempt is almost poetic: Oh color the amount of A Pingfu people did not reconcile the fear Gesha. It’s like an epic in Jabberwocky.

    Kenneth Brannagh’s Henry V is very muttery and dull for the first half hour. And I like him much better with a beard.

    1. Get better soon, Stephanie!

      I’m also intrigued by that first topic- please come back to it some time when you’re feeling better!

      That machine-translated bit was remarkably similar to the spam messages we get sometimes (which are equally fun to read aloud). They always seem strangely close to sense, like if you could just figure out what synonyms should have been used, it would become clear. I guess it’s just gibberish after all!

      I wonder, though- how much Chinese do you know? Can you actually type in those confounding hieroglyphs?

  3. Jean Valjean? How did he sneak into your Chinese paragraph. Color me intrigued.

    Also sympathetic.

    But also impressed that you managed to come up with such a spiffy and splendid post despite your illness. Three failed attempts = Success.

  4. Oh, that post went straight to my heart, as I have been struggling with flu for a week and half now, and, just when I thought I had got over it, I came down with a nasty migraine. It does make you feel like your head is full of soggy cotton wool, doesn’t it? You have my every sympathy! And well done for finding a clever way of dealing with it and producing a blog nevertheless. Lesser minds and willpowers might have just given up and retreated to bed with Lemsip.

  5. Bless your heart, Stephanie. For what it’s worth, I’ll add my name to the list of those who prefer your sick writings to the healthy writings of most writers.

    Hope you feel better soon, very soon. Cheers.

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