My family is a family of sneezers. That’s really where this whole story starts. I have always sneezed in pairs. Basically every time I have to sneeze, I do it in even numbers. And when I was little and sneezing 4, 6, 8 times in a row, dad would unfailingly tell me that my great grandmother, Pearl, used to have insane sneezing fits. She’d sneeze a dozen, two dozen times in a row, several times a day. She almost never sneezed just once, but instead sounded like a sneezing machine gun, rapidly firing off sneeze after sneeze until she’d blown her way through a whole round of ammunition. Or Kleenex. Whatever. One of the million times in my childhood that I was talking to my dad about sneezing, he mentioned that NASCAR drivers have been known to take anti-histamines before their races to prevent any sneezing. It would cause a life threatening situation, he explained, if they sneeze and closed their eyes for a split second, they could wreck their cars and die. DIE. DIE! (We are known for, in addition to our allergies, mellowdrama.)
So naturally, that’s the story that I had to tell when I was trying to prove to Zack that you could be A Man and still take Allergy Medicine.
He was sitting on the bed with me after work one day when he mentioned that he’d been sneezing a lot. His allergies were acting up he said. I replied that perhaps he might consider taking one of the side-effect-free, incredibly inexpensive, readily available allergy medicine tablets that I had in the bathroom. 10 milligrams of Claritin is all it takes for me to turn into a sneeze-free human being, I said. And he was all, “Nah. I’ll tough it out.”
Tough it out. He’s going to tough it out.
A brief aside: Zack doesn’t really ever take medicine. Ever. I think it’s a man thing. Most of my friend’s husbands also have this (incorrect) preconceived notion that if they have to take medicine for something, they must be weak-sauce wussies who deserve to have their man-cards taken away. Have a headache? SUFFER. IT’S SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN TAKING IBUPROFEN. Sneezing all day long because of high pollen counts? TOO BAD. THERE IS OBVIOUSLY NO POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM SO INSTEAD REAL MEN SHOULD CHOOSE TO BE MISERABLE.
And look at me? I’m over here fawning cause OMG YOU ARE SO MANLY? Is that the purpose of the man-aversion to meds? I don’t know if that works on other girls, but consider me unimpressed. Especially when some men work in some jobs that require them to be alert and safe and not spending half of their day with their face all scrunched up like, “Ooooh, hang on, I have to sneeze, it’s coming, AAAAACHHHOOO.”‘
So on that particular afternoon, I was like, alright, I am officially going to make an effort to talk Zack into taking a freaking Claritin. And I listed about 3 or 5 really good reasons that one should take allergy medicine if one has ALLERGIES. And then, I made a critical error–then I mentioned NASCAR. Zack’s ears immediately shut off. I was on bullet point number SIX (1. cheap meds 2. no side effects 3. already in the bathroom 4. stops your sneezing 5. your job requires you to be alert), which was “even NASCAR drivers do it, so it’s not like you’re the only man in the world taking allergy meds,” when all conversation ground to a halt and the laughing began. And the laughing hasn’t stopped yet.
He is irreversibly convinced that I love NASCAR with my whole heart. And while I admit that I did grow up in an atmosphere that was both sports-friendly and involved in racing, for some reason my family never really did the NASCAR thing. I swear that I only know that weird fact, (which, who even knows if it’s a real fact?! It’s entirely unverified) is because my dad mentioned it to me a million years ago when we were talking about our rich family history of Sneezing Constantly.
My dad, not being the kind of man who lets a good joke pass him by, sent me the following text messages on Sunday:
- NASCAR race today!
- How about a Jeff Gordon t-shirt?
- Car weight limit is 3,400 pounds.
- All suspension adjustments are manual.
- Gas cans cannot hold more than 14 gallons.
- About 700 horsepower.
So whatever iota of a chance I ever had of convincing Zack that my family SERIOUSLY is not a NASCAR family is gone. Long gone. I seriously might as well just go buy Styrofoam cooler and develop a taste for Bud Light, because I see a lot of non-ironic neck sunburns and turning left in my future.
And you know what the worst part of it all is? He still didn’t take the freaking Claritin.