Thursday, August 7, 2008

Uncle Fester's Visits

I remember when I first contracted the Herpes Simplex virus. No, not that herpes. My genitals are just fine, thank you. I'm talking about the shit that causes those ugly, blistery, disgusting mouth blemishes we know as cold sores.

I was 20 and I was getting lucky with the older woman who worked at the restaurant down the street. By older, I mean 26 or so. But, to a 20 year old, that was a conquest. Yes, there was once a time when hooking up with a perceived cougar was something to be proud of.

We were in my shitty apartment, getting down and dirty. Like the gentleman that I am, I went in for some passionate kisses. She said, "You don't want to do that. I have a fever blister."

I had no idea what a fever blister was and I was about to get laid, so I really didn't care what it was. I replied, "You bet I do! Come here and kiss me, you older lady from the restaurant down the street."

She said, "Well, if you don't care, then I don't care." And, we proceeded to tenderly slobber all over each other for the rest of the night.

A week later, I noticed something resembling a zit on my lower lip. It wasn't a zit though. It was more gross and stubborn and painful and itchy. Then, I remembered my night of geriatric sex. I had gotten that senior citizen's fever blister.

All I could think about was the scene in Spinal Tap, where all the members of the band had unsightly scabs on their lips. Yeah, I was like a mock British mock rock star. From that perspective, it wasn't that bad. You play, you pay, right? What I didn't realize is that I would have this little reminder of that night for the rest of my life.

Now, twice a year or so, Uncle Fester comes to visit.

Most people get cold sores, whether from a whistle in pre-school, 7 minutes in heaven in elementary school, or sipping 40's in junior high. I guess I was lucky to go 20 years without one.

Still, these shankers are a pain in the ass (again, not that kind of herpes). I become a freak. I drool when I eat. I have to smoke out of the wrong side of my mouth. I have to sip drinks carefully, like a baby. Puss leaks randomly on to my shirt and my pillow. Eventually, a huge scab forms. I'm like a leper. Then, when I take a shower or sleep, the scab falls off, only to come back again later. Not fun.

In my single days, having a cold sore was the worst. I knew I'd have no chance of getting laid. Like the guy in Captain Jack, I'd just sit home and masturbate. As a married man, it's not too bad, especially if my wife has one at the same time. Usually, we're on the same cycle, like women with their periods. Still, we can't kiss. We can't really have oral sex either.

Whenever I have a flareup, I try to deny it's existence. It's a pimple. It's a blemish. It's a burn. It's chapped. Nobody really believes me. Then, I cover it up with mankup, which makes me look like a guy with a cold sore AND makeup.

There are some remedies on the market, like the aptly named Herpecin or Abreva There's nothing more attractive than popping out one of those salves in public and servicing your festering virus.

For my most recent outbreak, my doctor prescribed Valtrex. Yes, it's for the penis herpes, but it also works for the oral herpes. A couple of days later, it was gone and for a while, I wasn't that drooling fool with the repulsive growth on his lip. Joy!

Things could be worse. I don't even want to know what genital herpes feel like (although, those guys in the Valtrex commercials seem really, really happy). I have a friend who was once with a girl who informed him that she had anal herpes. That's gotta hurt. If there are other places you get herpes, I want to keep them as far from my mind (and body) as possible.

So, I'll take solace in the fact that Uncle Fester only visits my lip. When he does visit, I'll take my meds, I'll wear my cover-up, and I'll wait until that smile returns to my face.

I kiss you!

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