Archive for December, 2008

Franco-Americana – Will Cure What Ails You

So here I am, standing in my bathroom, gargling whiskey.

It’s hard – trying to scream and gargle at the same time. Kind of, I’d imagine, like contracting a case of the hiccups while circular-breathing into your didgeridoo.

It all started a couple of Christmases ago. Sam and I were in Montana, and Sam succumbed to a raging cold. He was hot, he was cold, his glands were swollen, his throat hurt too much to swallow. My father, hearkening back to a family physician in rural Indiana, counseled him to drink a shot of whiskey. Just one. At 90 proof, the alcohol is potent enough to kill even the most stubborn of cold viruses. Sam complied, and noticed immediate and dramatic results – he felt better right away, and was warm for the first time since the cold had gotten him in its grip. By the next day, he was all but cured.

Six months later, Sam was in France when another cold descended – this time, one of those horrid summer colds. Remembering the familial wisdom offered by his father in law, he went out and bought a bottle of whiskey, much to his mother’s horror. Then, in a move that must have really made her wonder what goes on in Montana, he took a swig directly from the bottle… and gargled it. It seems he decided that if drinking whiskey could banish a cold overnight, then gargling whiskey would probably have him cured in half an hour.

Here we are, Christmas time again, and I have a horrid, rotten cold: swollen glands, I’m freezing in spite of my fever, my nose is bulbous and maroon, and my voice sounds like it’s squeezing out of my throat between two sheets of 10 grade sandpaper. I remember Sam’s gargling story, so I decide to do as the French do. Er, as the Franco-Montanans to.

But what Sam doesn’t know, and what doesn’t occur to me, is that my family has invented two different styles of gargling. There’s superficial anyone-can-do-it gargling, where you just kind of make gurgling sounds. Then there’s a technique that lets you gargle somewhere mid-way to your stomach, yet without actually swallowing. We all learned how to do this at an early age, since gargling salt water was the go-to cure for sore throats. It didn’t occur to me that Sam and I might have different cultural perceptions of appropriate gargling.

Until I cauterized my tonsils with Maker’s Mark.

I can’t really feel them anymore, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not…

Add comment December 3rd, 2008