The autumn of my rabies

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpgI am sitting here staring out the window at the encroaching colors of autumn that have cast the mornings of Topanga into a fusion of blues and grays.

Soon the more ebullient tones of the mid-season will arrive and the somber chromatics of the early days of October will yield to a new flamboyance of reds and golds as the leaves of summer die on the hillsides.

The grating roar of leaf blowers and the scratch of rakes dominate the sound tracks on this day, but thereafter the stillness of the whispered season will assert itself and the world continue in a more muted form.

I began this column with the gentler background of fall and the vistas that it engenders because I was bothered by the first subject I had chosen to write about. It is difficult to consider what dribbles from a baby's mouth or off a St. Bernard's jowls with any kind of serious attitude, but I was beginning to do so as I researched what I have always thought of as slobber. I drool.

I noticed a few months back that lines of drool were wetting my chin and I had to use a paper towel to occasionally dab at them. It was getting heavy enough to form spots of dampness on my T-shirts, not to mention the good fitted dress shirts I would wear.

I didn't think too much of that until I mentioned the drool syndrome to a friend who happens to be a hypochondriac. I too over-worry small changes in my physiology but I don't usually go nutty about them. But drool is different. He said it is also known that drooling indicates a high probability that I have rabies, transmittable to anyone I might bite.

I dribbled on whatever was under me as I bent over to read, to type or even to eat, which is annoying and probably even unsanitary. My friend, in order to ameliorate his first opinion, suggested light-heartedly that drool might contain certain antibiotics that are saving my life from intrusive diseases and could even indicate a high degree of testosterone, yahoo.

I mentioned it to my doctor and he laughed and shook his head as if to say I had finally gone over the edge. I'll just wait and see what happens, I guess. I will watch the changes of the seasons and by next fall if I am still alive I will accept that drooling may not be pretty but it is otherwise OK. Just don't let me bite you.

(That's a strange column, Martinez, I know.)

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