Days with Food Poisoning

by Nic Olson

Days with food poisoning are good because they remind you how invincible you feel on the days without food poisoning. The drastic difference between my Wednesday morning—coiled in a ball, vulnerable as a newborn puppy on the basement floor, nearly unable to climb the stairs to relieve my knife-stabbing stomach—and my Thursday evening—searching for sweets in my cupboard—makes it that much easier to compare. The last time I possibly ‘called in sick’, as in, showed up to work for two hours and was sent home, was for the same reason. I was housesitting, the ingredients for cannelloni were readily available, with the exception of cottage cheese, which I figured I would do without. Just before awkwardly hand-stuffing small pasta cylinders with runny pink sauce, I found an unopened container of cottage cheese in the fridge. I mixed it in liberally, excited for my Italian masterpiece that I was to share with a friend. Early the next morning, around 4, I was awoken to the same unpleasant feeling, this time, however, the feeling came out of two different directions of my body. I sat at my housesitting house and watched Breaking Bad for a day and a half, thinking I had the flu until I read the Best Before date on the unopened container of cottage cheese, which would have still been good to use, two and a half months previous.

But they enjoyed Disneyland, so that’s all that matters.

This time, after a thirteen hour recovery sleep, I can’t sleep for more than five the next night. I sit on the ground at 7am in the dark without glasses, reading political articles about how invincible the government feels (they must’ve had the worst bout of food poisoning that ever did exist), closing my good eye in order to strengthen my bad eye, squinting like I’m on a motorcycle in a sandstorm. I heard a sound like an animal in my room, and after discovering a hole in the bottom of the drywall next to my bed, a hole that looks like a classic mouse hole from Pixie and Dixie‘s residential home, I have been waiting to hear this sound. I crawled on on my hands and knees in my underwear the dark, no glasses, the most pathetic predator that ever lived, trying to locate the source of the scratching and nibbling sound at one of the corners of my bedroom. Oh, the places food poisoning can take you. Days with food poisoning are good because they remind you how invincible you feel on the days without food poisoning, and this is me at my most invincible. I have failed to acheive the same level of notoriety as many of my contemporary cartoon headliners. Perhaps the idea of a man chasing non-existent mice simply isn’t novel enough for the infinite reaches of the internet.

It turned out to be a beetle.