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The humour of phlegm

Just the word itself is funny: P-H-L-E-G-M (pausing for laughter). . .I giggle every time I say it.

Phlegm and I are in a bit of a struggle today. It is a mystery to me how my body can produce so much of it despite going through an entire box of Kleenex in a six-hour period at work (so far) today.

I recently returned from a short trip to visit friends and family in different areas of the country – felt fine – and then I got back. The next night (Tuesday), I started to feel my throat get sore during bowling (perhaps it was the [aweful] Miller Light we drank). I don’t know. I am not a doctor and I don’t even claim to play one on TV.

By Thursday night, my sore throat went away with the help of the number one leading sore throat remedy: GUINNESS. Yes, Guinness cures sore throats. If you don’t believe me, try it. In fact, I take Guinness any time I am feeling sub-par and it works every time. Screw NyQuil. If you know me, you know two important things: 1) I rarely get sick, and 2) I drink Guinness. The worst I usually get is congested, but I usually get pretty pissed off because I have to blow my nose every three minutes. It’s not that I even feel bad, rather, it’s more of any annoyance than anything else.

So Phlegm totally pisses me off. Where is my body getting the natural resources to produce this amount of phlegm? It is a total mystery. Not even Wikipedia could give me the answers to this mystery. Where does it come from? Why does it happen? Why is it I can blow my nose 6000 times but there is more phlegm and snot running out of me, literally, within seconds of getting rid of the last batch?

I suppose this is not so bad. Lots of people I know are sick twice a month and I maybe get the sniffles once a year. So even if this little bout with phlegm is a few days of annoyance for me out of the year, it could be a lot worse and I guess I have been lucky enough to have a solid immune system that keeps me healthy. And of all the humours to have issue with, I’d rather it be phlegm than the others.

Phlegm is one of the four humours (blood, black bile, and yellow bile being the others) and it is by far the funniest of all the humours (that was an intelligent pun you know). If you were an English major in school, you have probably read about them in old literature from back in Shakespeare’s era and what not. When you would get sick, the doctors of the time would bleed you to help balance out your humour levels. That’s fantastic. I could use a good bleeding probably. I think they genetically phased out black bile in humans before WWI, but it’s possible it still lives somewhere in us even though I’ve never seen it. . .not sure I want to.

And one more time for the road. . .PHLEGM!

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Dr. Uncle Bob June 10, 2007, 10:10 am

    Phlegm comes from drinking Miller Lite,The hard water in Springfield,Mo, and any coffee that costs more than $1.00 a cup. In college I did several medical experiments which proved that most liqours were cheaper and more effective than cough medicine(I couldn’t afford Guiness but I don’t doubt its value as a decongestant). Unfortunately Big Pharma would not allow The Harvard Medical Review to publish my results so the liqour producers stopped sending my large royalty checks. I was so depressed at this news that I got drunk that night and was phlegm-free for a few days.So remember the old toast: across the teeth and through the gums, look out phlegm, here it comes.

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