If you don't know about gout, you've never had it. If you've ever had it, you will remember it well.
It generally strikes a big toe, and the entire toe is so sore that you will seriously consider chopping it off. As comedian Jerry Clower said when he was tangling with a raccoon and begging his pals on the ground to shoot:
"They said, 'We may hit you,'" but Jerry answered, "Shoot amongst us! One of us has got to have some relief!"
Of all the times for me to experience a major gout attack, I was right in the middle of pneumonia. The pneumonia medications made me so dizzy I could barely make it from the bedroom to the bathroom or kitchen. In fact, I fell several times.
The gout in my feet was so painful I could do no more than take baby steps. My head was swirling, and my toes were curling. Each step felt like 10 little demons had chosen a toe and were pulling on it with all their might. I haven't had a drink of George Dickel in years, but suddenly I remembered alcohol is the worst thing you can touch when you have gout.
To add to this dilemma, I had already backslid into using some of the little bad words that Mother spanked me for years about and that Glenda now spanks me for. There's never been a time in my life when there has been a shortage of ladies who hate bad words in my life. Sometimes I get so good at avoiding bad words that I become so self-righteous that even Brother Billy Graham stays away from me.
When I'm a bad boy, I'm very, very bad. When I'm a good boy, I'm simply disgusting.
To compound the pneumonia and the gout, I had just been referred to Dr. John Dooley for a body restructuring. That means putting muscles where there are no muscles and making the few you have very sore through pushing them to their uttermost capacity. I went from grimacing and groaning to actively screaming. I think the doctor has had a scream eraser installed in his brain because when I would scream the loudest he would pat me on the knee and say, "Great work, Dalton! Great work!"
Did you ever meet a man who was so nice you couldn't help but love him, but he would push you so hard you wanted to boil him in hot oil or pierce him with sharp creek rocks? About the time you started heating the oil or stacking the rocks, he'd tell you how proud he was of you and how it was only a matter of days until you'd be able to throw John Wayne around a movie set with one arm tied behind you.
I wonder if fate was telling me something when it told me to simultaneously enter programs to save my breathing, my gorgeous body symmetry and my big toes. It looks like I'm being prepared to hurt somebody. Maybe even whole groups!
Here I'll be -- strong enough to whip the world and completely unable to talk tough and use bad words.