Oh, the Pain!
Those mysterious afflictions of mine? Mystery solved.
Every year during the holidays, mysterious one-day illnesses often afflict me, usually after attending some exotic, sumptuous party. As a delicate flower, I have forced my doctor to put me through a battery of painful tests, yet he still can’t find anything wrong. It may be a “modern” stigmata, because everyone knows that pain is a common side effect of being Holy. Now that is a cross to bear, isn’t it?

With the Christ Season upon us, it’s happening again. I woke up this morning with a horrible brain-ache and a bloated tongue. In a panic, I summoned my personal physician to my bedside. Thinking ahead to just such an occasion, I had purchased the house next door, Tammy Faye’s old house, for him. He rushed in, wearing a tight bicycling outfit (I made him remove that ridiculous bike helmet, which looks like a tadpole. When I was a child, we never wore helmets and very few people died. Today you hear about bike riders dying all the time, and they’re all wearing helmets. You make the connection.) I received a very thorough examination, with a pronouncement that I was “fit as a fiddle.”

“But you have one heck of a hangover, Francine,” he chirped. His little black bag snapped shut and he scurried out the door.

A tiny wail escaped my lips, and it quickly became a siren of despair. I can’t control my powerful voice, and my stream of tears instantly became mist as the timbre of my voice rose into ultrasonic levels. Outside, dogs began howling and car alarms went off.

Then the door to my bedroom crashed open. My pool boy, Jay-Jay, was standing there in his Spider-Man Underoos, holding a shovel.

“What in hell is going on?” he demanded.

I closed my mouth, but could still feel my teeth vibrating. “I am a sinner!” I said. “Forgive me, Lord! I have drunk the fermented fruit of the vile vine and have eroded my soul into the mess you see today, Jay-Jay.”

Pausing for effect, I continued. “My body is poisoned with alcohol, and I deserve to be punished. But my punishment must be harsh, for I need to atone with God this very day.”

I tried to think of a horrible, painful punishment, like a giant tattoo of Sen. Claire McCaskill on my shoulder. No, still not painful enough. Suddenly, I thought of the worst thing anybody in Kansas City could ever imagine.

“Jay-Jay, pick up the phone and invite Mayor Funkhouser and his wife, Gloria, over for dinner,” I managed to say.

That evening, I kept throwing up a little in my mouth as the two of them droned on and on about lawsuits and unemployment and the best home remedies for foot fungus, but I felt a monstrous weight lift within my soul. God had forgiven me. I will never drink again.

And if any of my readers should spy a glass of bubbly in my hand this holiday season, pull out this column and shove it in my face to remind me of the pact I have made with God.

And then I’ll autograph it for you. It’s what Jesus would have done, too.
The Jolly Green Giant radiates health, and has never had a hangover. If he did ingest something like, let’s say, fermented grape juice, he could have these horrible things happen to him the next day:
• His heart becomes inflamed and beats abnormally.
• Fatty and lactic acids build up in the liver, resulting in low blood sugar and weakness.
• Inflamed stomach lining delays digestion, and more gastric acid causes nausea.
• With dilated blood vessels, the brain aches. Dehydration can pull the brain from its lining.
• Improper amounts of hormones disrupt sleep and interfere with kidney function.
• Central nervous system overexcites, causing sweating, tremors and sensitivity.
• Muscles are weakened from dehydration and low blood sugar.
• Increase of digestive chemicals from the pancreas causes pain, nausea and vomiting.
• Kidneys fail to reabsorb water, causing increased urination and dehydration.
• An increased chance of Satan knocking at his door to steal his soul.
Francine offers her slightly skewed viewpoint on issues in the Kansas City metropolitan area’s LGBT community in each issue of Camp. And since you’re asking, yes, she’s a fictional character. Well, you asked.

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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