Hump Day: Bald is beautiful, unless you’re a winter tire

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Do you ever have one of those days when you turn around and can’t figure out where the day went? I had one of those today.

As I write this, it’s 9:30 p.m. and I have an extra-large coffee on the go – and no, it’s not decaf. This is the full-strength stuff, baby! This ‘real man’ doesn’t drink decaf coffee at night!

This ‘real man’ will also be wide awake at 2 a.m. cursing every god of every religion known to mankind because I can’t sleep. To make matters more interesting, supper is in the oven (yes, supper at 9:30 p.m.!) and I’m writing this column because the deadline is tomorrow morning and have no choice but to send in something.

This was one of those days when I ended up with one nerve left only to find an elephant tap dancing on it while sticking his tongue out at me. He’s lucky he’s a protected species, otherwise his tusks would be part of a piano by now.

The past week was about as unproductive as can be. The cold I wrote about last week lodged itself in my chest, causing me to become a human coughing machine that’s just now easing up. You know you’ve coughed a lot when your ribs are sore!

Yup, this cold snuck up on me. Normally, I can take some over-the-counter medications and manage the symptoms pretty well, but the coughing associated with this one nearly drove me crazy.

On Friday, I thought I was feeling a lot better, so managed to sit in on a business meeting in the afternoon. Because I’d spent the morning in meetings with practically no coughing at all (thanks to a mouthful of lozenges), I thought another meeting wouldn’t hurt – that is until I felt the familiar tickling in my throat that foretold a coughing fit.

I’ve had worse coughing fits than that, but this one was in a meeting. Trying to rein in a cough in a meeting is a delicate matter. Trying not to cough is impossible. You start heaving up and down as the tickle gets worse. Finally, you just give in and start hacking to beat the band. If I didn’t just give in and cough, I’m pretty sure the top of my skull would have popped off from the pressure and I would have had to chase it as it rolled down the corridor.

But then if you give in too much and just let go, you end up coughing up a vital organ. No one wants to see their spleen splatter against the wall during a violent coughing fit – although showing up at an after-hours clinic holding your spleen in one hand and covering your mouth with the other while coughing is bound to get you some attention.

It’s no fun being sick, but at least I can blame my nearly complete lack of productivity last week on that. Now that I’m feeling better, though, I have no excuses and need to get back on track! The pile of paper on my desk needs to get sorted, filed and dealt with. I need to do some business development work to get new clients – and I have to follow up with current clients to see if there’s more work for me.

When you work for yourself, you always have to be looking for the next contract. Although there’s a lot of freedom when you work for yourself, you’re always searching for the next meal. The joys of entrepreneurship! But then again, if I want to buy groceries at 10 a.m., then I do it.

Today, I also decided to get my winter tires installed after hearing that a storm could be on the way. I had an appointment next week to have them put on, but I couldn’t wait another minute and opted to find another place who could take me sooner. I’ve been pretty loyal to my tire shop, but personal safety doesn’t take a back seat to loyalty.

When my all-season tires were removed, it became abundantly clear that they’d given up the ghost. “Uhm, aren’t there supposed to be grooves in tires?” I asked one of the guys working on my car. “Yeah, those tires are finished,” he responded. Trust me, I know very little about cars, but I do know that bald tires aren’t a good thing – and with possible snow coming this week, there was no way I’d feel safe on bald tires. Bald heads can be cool (if I do say so myself!), but bald tires? Nope.

I’ve always believed in winter tires. I don’t care what anyone says, all-seasons and snow don’t go together. They just don’t! Had I not gone to get my winter tires installed this week, I my vehicle would have been doing an impression of a skater at the Ice Capades during the impending snow.

The last time I drove on all-seasons in the snow was about seven years ago when a November weekend storm took everyone by surprise. My procrastination turned into stupidity when my tires failed to grip properly in the snow not far from my house and I ran into a curb while trying to make a turn. A couple of thousand dollars later, I’d learned my lesson. These days, winter tires are an absolute necessity.

I’m not sure how a column on being sick and coughing turned into one extolling the virtues of winter tires over all-seasons, but I’ve been far too frazzled today to concern myself too much about it.

Like my mother used to say, “There are starving children in (fill in the name of poor country) and you’ll eat what I give ya!” Well, there are children in (fill in the name of poor country) who don’t have newspapers to read, and you’ll read what I give ya!

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