Remember Fawlty Towers? The episode with the German tourists? The one where Basil Fawlty told his staff something like, "Whatever you do, don't mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it,"? Mr. Fawlty's behavior was (mostly) on account of a traumatic brain injury, the result of being beaned by some taxidermist's masterpiece of a severed moose head.
I have a different sort of traumatic injury, on account of The Pandemic (you know the one).
I'm going to mention The Pandemic just this once, and I promise I'll never mention it again. But I'm doing this for your own good, to save you a trip to the eye doctor. Because he's only going to think you're crazy and then (to cover his ass) send you to a very expensive specialist. But believe me, this is for real, and I might be saving you a lot of money and negative speculation about your sanity. Which will wind up on your permanent record.
My traumatic injury wasn't caused by Covid per se. It was actually a side effect of spending a ridiculous (and apparently dangerous) amount of time in lockdown with my husband.
Let's call it Anthony's Syndrome.
If you're new to this blog, or in case you didn't read my first book, my husband's name is Anthony. (Now go buy my first book. You won't be sorry.) Here's what happened: I was bending down to get some flour out of a cabinet, and then all of a sudden, YOWZA! I got this stabbing pain in my right eye socket.
I reacted like I usually do when faced with fresh hell of any sort: I panicked. Was my retina detaching? Did I have a stroke? A tumor? Expired mascara?
Anyway, it stopped. But I remained wary. A few days later, it happened again. And then a few days after that, again. And then in the other eye, too. I thought about going to the doctor, but my eyes looked okay and I wasn't having any vision changes, and I hate going to doctors above all things, especially during a pandemic. So I decided to try to come up with my own diagnosis.
Which I did. Finally, after weeks of careful observation and analysis, I came to the conclusion that I had injured my eye muscles due to repetitive eye rolling due to my husband's repetitive goofiness.
You live and learn.
The cure was to consciously stop rolling my eyes. Not easy. I tried heaving deep, exasperated sighs instead. Out of earshot, of course. A sort of Sicilian housewife riff on yoga breathing.
It wasn't enough, though. Being Sicilian, my preferred stress buster is cold, hard revenge. In the case of my husband Anthony, the best revenge is to deny him soup. For a whole week. No explanations, no apologies. Let him wonder.
Time for some red meat. Beef tenderloin, the way my father-in-law made it in his restaurant. Fast, easy, and full of aggression.
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