Thursday, June 4, 2009
Penicillin and Bruce Campbell

About a year ago, I noticed that whenever I do a big signing or a convention with a lot of panels, I end up getting sick as a dog afterwards.

So I started being more careful. I made a point of eating healthy while I'm there. I drink plenty of water and juice. I take vitamins and a zinc supplement. I wash my hands so often it looks like I'm channeling the spirit of Howard Hughes.

And it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. As soon as the convention or signing is over, I get sick. I might as well tongue-kiss everyone I meet at a convention. That way I'd at least feel like I deserved to get sick. Plus the pictures people posted on facebook would be *way* more interesting. Plus kissing is awesome.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. My sickness. It turns out I wasn't just being a big sissy baby. I didn't have swine flu, but I did have strep throat. That makes me feel a little better about the fact that I've spent the last week weeping like a little girl and doing shots of chloraseptic like a fratboy on a bet.

*Sigh* You know what sucks about being an experienced writer? The internal editor. Ten years about I would have written that last sentence and moved on with my life whistling merrily.

But now when I write it, I think:

  • This reinforces our negative cultural stereotype that implies women are weak and weepy.
  • This implies that all frat boys are clueless drunken fuck-ups.
  • If I write this, a half dozen people will leave comments saying, "I was the proud member of Epsilon Ometa Whateverthefuck fraternity in college. Not all of us are drunken idiots. My brothers and I maintained a 3.8 GPA, drank nothing but rainwater, and raised money for crippled kittens."

And then I sigh.

Of course, nobody will write in about the subtler, implied slur against women. Which makes me feel worse in some ways.

Don't get me wrong, the internal editor is a useful thing. It keeps me from getting in trouble. (Sometimes.) It makes me a better writer. It makes me a better human being.

But still, it's a shame. "Weeping like a little girl" is a lovely phrase. It really gets my point across. It conveys. And when you apply it to some great hairy bear of a man like me, it's got all sorts of humorous implications.

The same is true with the stereotype of the drunk sideways-cap wearing frat boy. It's a funny thing. It's a useful tool for humor.

The other obvious problem is that it takes so much more time to be a careful writer. Take today's post, for example. I was going to talk about being sick, or about my foreign taxi adventures, or about how great it is to be back home.

And what am I doing instead? Writing a blog about writing a blog. Merciful Buddha forgive me. It makes me long for the days when I was just a punk kid and wrote whatever the hell amused me with no thought for the repercussions.

Well, I promised myself I'd only spend an hour on today's blog. Taxi adventures and other musings will have to wait for a day or so…

Just to give this blog some shred of substance that isn't all meta, I should mention that this weekend I'll be at Florida Supercon in Miami where I plan on gazing adoringly at Bruce Campbell's magnificently sculptured ass.

I'll also be doing a reading, signing books, and all the rest of the usual stuff that I do when I'm Guest of Honor at a convention.

And don't worry, I'm on antibiotics now, so you won't catch strep off me.


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posted by Pat at


Anonymous AndyB said...

You spent an hour on that?! No wonder your columns were always late.

June 4, 2009 11:55 AM  
Blogger SRH said...

I have taken to "weep like a toddler." It is mildly agist, but removes the sexism. Cheers

June 4, 2009 11:56 AM  
Blogger Alice O said...

I hope Sarah is well? Glad you are feeling better and home safe!


June 4, 2009 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once Bruce catches you looking see if you can get him to say, "Give me some sugar, baby."

June 4, 2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

You could always take to saying, "weep like a little boy," and confuse everyone amusingly.

Glad you're better! We can haz photos?

June 4, 2009 12:20 PM  
Blogger Icarus said...

If you post a picture of yourself with Bruce Campbell, you officially become my new most favorite person in the whole world.

June 4, 2009 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

Actually, I think the phrase "like a little girl" actually refers to the style of weeping. Rather than insinuating that you are a little girl BECAUSE you are weeping, it says to me that you are weeping as a little girl might weep - with shrill abandon.

I don't think it implies only women are criers or anything like that... just that women (and especially young women) tend to be more open and vocal about said weeping.

June 4, 2009 12:25 PM  
Blogger David Val said...

If you post a picture of you and Bruce kissing...

June 4, 2009 12:30 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Hi Pat -

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv.... BUT:

A thought - could it be that it is NOT the people who are making you sick, but the change in location? Going from the pureness of central Wisconsin air to, say, LA smog does something to a person. Add in the canned air from the flight over - yeah. To someone who doesn't travel often, it's a double whammy. Sort of like putting a little kid who never left the confines of their house into a kindergarten class for the first time - germy air city, with a side helping of boogers.

The good news on this is that eventually, given enough flights / signings, your immune system should build up its tolerance, and the number of sicknesses should subside.

Of course, it's either that or we can ship you a whole slew of medical masks - I hear the dollar stores have them on fire sale after the swine flu scare.... :o)

Glad you're feeling better!!!!!!

June 4, 2009 12:31 PM  
Blogger Julia Weston said...

I just fell out of my chair laughing. Thank you.

June 4, 2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I'd be so jealous if you get to meet Bruce. I think you need to write a book where he can take the staring role in the movie version! Patrick and Bruce. A wet dream come true.

June 4, 2009 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Chase said...

I was checking the website for the Florida Supercon and i didn't see any Q&A times on Sunday. Are you only doing that on Saturday?

June 4, 2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger ZackTruel said...

I think Judy hit it right on the head. Having grown up in several different countries around the world, I know the impact that it can have on a visitor's immune system. Even small things like brushing your teeth with the water from the faucet and eating some of the local cuisine can cause you to pick up something. I have seen it countless times with visitors. Your immune system has never encountered some of the bugs that are in that part of the world, and it is helpless to fight it. Something that may not even bother a local 3 year old can lay a grown man flat on his back for a week "crying like a girl". ;)

June 4, 2009 1:15 PM  
Blogger humzee said...

You finally hit Florida and I can not make it to the event. Do a signing in Tallahassee or Panama City Beach if you want the beaches.

June 4, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger LoriBeth said...

I actually had a similar problem of getting sick whenever I traveled. It turned out my tonsils needed removing, my nose was horribly broken internally and my sinus cavity needed bored out....wait this isn't a good story at all.

After having all that done however I feel amazing! I can snort pollen off a stripper's bottom and not get so much as a sniffle.

My advice is to go find a good ENT and let them take a peek in your head. There are a variety of options that will get your cranial drainage system working a lot better and you feeling a lot better!

June 4, 2009 1:46 PM  
Blogger marky said...

Bruce! You lucky, lucky writer you.

No wonder you're ill all the time. It's just Karma's way of evening up your jammy life.

Man, I wish I had a talent that got me within sniffing distance of Bruce Campbell's magnificently sculpted arse.

Please tell him that My Name Is Bruce was a work of comedy genius.

June 4, 2009 1:51 PM  
Anonymous GuruStew said...

I was a proud member of Mega Tau Letta in college and none of my worthy brethren wore sideways caps. While the caps that we wore MAY have displayed the name and/or logo of the college we were attending, we did NOT wear t-shirts extolling the theme of our previous party. The rest of your stereotypes seem about right. Turns out stereotyping is a real timesaver.

June 4, 2009 2:36 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I hope Sarah didn't catch your strep. I've had it 4 times and it's pretty flippin lame.

Since you're not contagious anymore, we should probably start hanging out. Just so you know.

June 4, 2009 2:59 PM  
Blogger Zaphod said...

This post has been removed by the author.

June 4, 2009 3:15 PM  
Blogger Black Badger said...

In the interest of educating the readers of this here blog of ours I'll mention that Strep throat is a result of an infection (in this case a Streptococcal infection), not food, water or air that you're not acclimated to. Pat, you're right, it's the exposure to lots and lots of people that's causing you to become exposed to an infectious agent and making you sick. That having been said, it's totally worth a little strep throat to get to travel the world listening to people tell you how much they love your work (I'm right there with them) so man up and face the dangers of life as a celebrity fiction writer. All that plus hangin' with B to tha C = AWESOME!

A E Pi for life dawgs.....

June 4, 2009 4:19 PM  
Blogger Black Badger said...

Hey, I'm also now confused by something. How does book 2 have an ISBN13 (9780756404734, btw) if it's not finished yet? Also, what's the difference between an ISBN 13 and just an ISBN (0756404738 for WM'sF)?

June 4, 2009 4:27 PM  
Anonymous AndyB said...

@Black Badger

At the risk of sounding like a smartass, the ISBN-13 (which is now the official "ISBN") has 13 characters where the ISBN-10 (the official "ISBN" prior to 2007) only has 10 characters.

Check out the free Dummies book about it:

The Wise Man's Fear has had at least two sets of ISBNs already:

As for why books are assigned ISBN's this early, most bookstores handle book orders and warehousing by ISBN. So if a publisher wants to encourage pre-orders and listings, they have to assign ISBNs to books that haven't been released yet.

June 4, 2009 5:09 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

you could always try weeping like a little child. or make it more interesting and make the brat selfish. i dont know, make it your own. well sorry to hear youre sick. that sucks. but huzzah for proper drugs.

also, what Betsy said about weeping like a little girl, i think is spot on. "with shrill abandon" - so so true! keep it up pat.

June 4, 2009 5:36 PM  
Blogger EmeraldDeirdre said...

OMG, I am such a fangirl!!! now I am going to be driving down to Miami this weekend!! I am glad you are feeling better, strep is no fun!!

June 4, 2009 7:34 PM  
OpenID arya said...

Try "weeping like a little girl whose father has just informed her that Santa did in fact bring her a pony for Christmas, but it died trying to get down the chimney."

Sexist or not, any grown woman who says she didn't want a pony when she was a little girl is a dirty liar.

June 4, 2009 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Gryffin said...

Pat, I have two little girls and I've me no one who weeps quite like they do! It's an apt phrase.

Glad you're back safely from the European tour. Hope Sara had the time of her life and is well, also! Enjoy FL and Bruce's bruceness!

June 4, 2009 11:22 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Pat...I'm so sorry you're sick, but let me tell you, there's no crying in the world that's worse than when a man is sick! Don't get me wrong, little girls can hold their own in the weeping category, but a sick man...geesh!

As for getting sick whenever you travel, I'm the exact same way. One of my friends turned me onto the Airborne craze a few years ago, and even though I know it's just vitamins and such, it works and I swear by it. Give it a try next time you're out and about.

Hopefully you're feeling better and have a full recovery soon :)

June 5, 2009 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While everyone most certainly agrees that Pat has a tendancy to get sick when traveling, which makes us all sad for we suffer as Pat suffers, no one ever seems to point out the rest on the pattern.

1. Pat goes on trip and provides a short blog on how hard WiFi is to come by in said place, making up-to-date stories impossible.

2. Pat returns with a horrible illness and crawls to the computer to faithfully tell his readers that is he is in fact, still alive.

3. Pat recovers tells amusing stories that have nothing to do with his trip but make us all worship him and admire his craft.

This makes me wonders what really happens on his trips. Does he simply never get around to NOTW lenght posts or does he do things that he doesn't want available to his fanbase/Sarah/future Minipat?

June 5, 2009 12:17 AM  
Anonymous pdxtrent said...

To redeem the human race in your eyes, I noticed the sexist comment, and just laughed at the fratboy one. Evidently, we all have our blind spots.
As for kissing at signings, sign me up! But I want my kiss before you start kissing whoever gave you strep.
WV-Ingnot- When writing, it is when you overshoot your ending, and realize it 4 chapters later.

June 5, 2009 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Curious said...

What does the sign say on the largest stack of papers?

June 5, 2009 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Kirk said...

1. You didn't follow through on that pidgeon thing did you? "I canoodled a flying disease factory... then somehow I got sick!"

2. I think "wept like a fratboy" would have worked, it only proves your point if they comment to complain.

3. "Great hairy bear of a man" ? I think Grizzle Adams just rolled over in his grave.

4. Why, why, why... would you be staring at Bruce Campbell's ass!?!? The guy is nearly as CHinfamous as Kirk Douglas! Bring an ink pad and beg him to chin stamp a copy of your book!

June 5, 2009 2:06 AM  
Anonymous Tiana said...

I am a woman and I never wanted a pony. I mean, I was allergic to them.


I just thought that needed to be said. :P

But I second the "weep like a toddler" suggestion, or also "weep like a little boy" to confuse people on purpose.

June 5, 2009 5:27 AM  
Anonymous mary beth said...

You are awesome. This morning was the shi***-iest morning in the shi***iest year so far for me, and your blog made me feel better. And, The Name of the Wind helped as well in a previous well of darkness. Thank you and I'm sorry you have strep.

If you get sick every time you might want to have your tonsils checked out.

June 5, 2009 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

These conferences have kind of steep admission prices, and you're the only reason I would go. Any chance of stopping by, say a local bookstore for a couple of hours for us cheapskates?

June 5, 2009 9:13 AM  
Anonymous nicolajane said...

get well soon Pat
all the best to Sarah
AND have tonsils removed for the sake of the little one !
you know that im right x

June 5, 2009 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS from now on i intend to weep like a Pat that needs his tonsils out !

June 5, 2009 9:51 AM  
Blogger TC BigPants said...

This post has been removed by the author.

June 5, 2009 10:03 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

Cry like a baby? Just means loud and soggy in my experience :)


June 5, 2009 11:30 AM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

does anyone else thing this looks like Pat?

June 5, 2009 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Kanna said...

He does! He looks even more like Pat when he puts on the Feminist shirt in a later segment.

June 5, 2009 1:34 PM  
Blogger RylieH said...

Grown men weep like little girls...
For a little girl to "weep", it is when they are experiencing a sorrow that interrupts their dance through life. Little girls weep from deep within their hearts. Sounds like a compliment to me.

Why do descriptive phrases have to be sexist when their intent had nothing to do with describing girls, but everything to do with describing the man. If anything, it was Rothfussist.

As for frat boys.. well, you pretty much nailed it. But we need them. It is a circle of life kind of thing.

June 5, 2009 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU ROTHFUSSIST PERSON PAT! ! ! I totally agree with the fact that weeping like a little girl isn't sexist. Indeed on TOP of that, little girls do weep in a very distinctive manner (and quantity) so the analogy is valid as well.

I really don't care about the implications of the prat boy analogy. They are completely true.
: D

June 5, 2009 4:42 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I agree that "weeping like a little girl" is not sexist.

I'm a girl, I have three, did I mention THREE little girls of my very own and well, they weep. A LOT. All the time. And often about, well nothing!

I have no problem admitting that women in general (myself included) are emotional. Which in turn I think is not sexist just politically incorrect.

June 5, 2009 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

i feel the need to point out that its not just the fratboys who take shots like hell. the sorority sisters know how to drink, just not the hard stuff like the guys tend to do. no offense ladies, but in my experience not a lot of you like JD.

June 6, 2009 4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to be female, and I also happen to love JD.

June 6, 2009 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Little Jess said...


This is my first time commenting on your blog. Not my first time reading though and I have to say that I always find your rants and whatnot quite funny and illuminating. Also I think you should get a twitter account!

That is all!

June 6, 2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

*giggles* I can assure you, JD is NOT, emphatically NOT the hardest drinking available. I certainly don't like it, but I am delighted to be able to inform you after extensive testing, vodka neat is perfectly palatable. Although, after the tequila I suppose anything would be.


June 6, 2009 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Nyn said...

Being an aspiring writer, I have just had my first run-in with the editing process - and it scared hell out of me! So, I actually want to thank you for this little insight. Seeing that you struggle with it and still (or because of it) manage to produce amazing work gives me hope.
And that even makes up for the lack of foreign taxi adventures in this here post ;)

Get well soon, Pat!
I send you love, gratefulness, and healthy vibes.

June 6, 2009 11:26 AM  
OpenID limabeanbreath said...

Forget zinc, it's all about the echinacea. If you've got a Trader Joe's in your neck of the woods, they have a killer lemon, ginger, echinacea juice blend that is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-nauseal. If not... I take a goldenseal/echinacea supplement a few days before and after as well as during an event, and have never gotten any con crud or other communicable disease.

Of course, after working in the public library, where kid germs and homeless germs breed to make Super Homeless Kid Germs, I may be immune to everything.

June 6, 2009 11:49 PM  
Anonymous SHORTY said...

When I change environments, I get sick.

It usually takes a few years for me to save up enough to fly the kids and me from Hawaii to the Mainland. We always get sick.

It is infuriating!! Short trips + illness = hostile lil midge.

Hope you (and Sarah and the wee nugget) are all hale and hearty!!

June 7, 2009 4:31 AM  
Blogger An Albino Druid said...

Dearest, dearest Pat,

I am currently on a whirlwind adventure of my own, traversing the countryside of Europe as a simple tinker. I have often been contemplating the notion that, if I help myself enough times, freely given and not expecting in return, then maybe I will give myself some wondrous magic trinket to protect from the things that go 'bump' in the night. But really, I am sticking to the cities, and am loving most of it. Internet is hard to come by, so I sympathise with you and your predicament mentioned in the earlier blog. I have been keeping a log of my travels on my facebook, and they are something of a thrilling read.

I am not sick, but maybe that is because I am not doing book signings. Maybe it is also because I am not drinking and whoring (not necesarily in that order.) Instead, I am homesick, and I am jealous of you and your being able to take your love around on trips with you. If only I had a list of famous places where I squeezed Rachel's butt...

I am really liking Germany the most so far, and Rothenburg op der Tauber is in first! Even though it was a touristy city... It was the most fantastic town I have ever been a part of. Prague is wonderful, and I loved every part of my self guided adventures in the palace and all over there (especially the cathedral, although I do not practice any form of Christianity), but other than that, it is a city of lawlessness and dirt. Everything here is sin masked in tinsil. But it is nice, in moderation.

I have also decided I do not like most beer and any form of strong liqour. I do appreciate my wine, though, and the wine festival in Wuerzburg was a fantastic experiance.

I appreciate the remark about being a punk kid and writing whatever the hell amused you, because I am a punk kid and I write whatever the hell amuses me. But sometimes I think about the repurcussions. And some of it has a point.

Well... As you know, I remain...

Respectfully Yours,
An Albino Druid
Mixing Crowns and Euros Since 1992

June 7, 2009 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Valentina said...

I tend to weep like a little girl when I'm sick, too, and I'm a grown woman! Well, I hope you feel better. It makes me feel better that you're not the only one who has that type of internal editor in mind. Take care and kiss Bruce Campbell for me! He give us fangirls "special" feelings. *sighs*

June 8, 2009 10:20 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Entwisle said...

Commiserations on the strep throat, my mother had it once and she was bedridden for four days (then again thats not surprising with the state of the NHS). Bringing her tea in the morning was like entering the lair of the unfathomable beast. Good luck with recovering.

June 8, 2009 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had Strep a couple of times. It definitely hurts. Not even gargling with tequila numbs the pain. Cigar smoke doesn't seem to help either.

The good news is that it clears up pretty quick once you figure out what it is and start taking antibiotics with rum chasers.

Jim in NC

June 8, 2009 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merciful Buddah! Did Judy just call us Angelinos "a handful of boogers"? For shame, Judy, for shame! Pat, no kissing. No hugs. Take Airborne. Man up. For Sarah, dude! Xoxoxo jeanne

June 8, 2009 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Molly said...

Aww, strep throat! That sucks.
Just don't do what I did, please! Don't waltz around the house in mixed pyjamas - or in my case, freebie t-shirts - and sing belters from any number of musicals. It might feel like fun at the time, but believe me, it'll kill as soon as the song ends.
I love your blog, Pat! Keep it up, I always look forward to reading it.
Feel better soon

June 9, 2009 7:35 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I don't know, I think "weeping like a frat boy on a bet" has a real poignancy to it. (I suppose I'm assuming that frat boys would only bet on things that would make each other weep. I'm all right with that.)

June 9, 2009 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Bogdan Wolf Pecanac said...

Will "The name of the Wind" ever published in a Slavic-Croatian-Bosnian-Serbian speaking country (Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia)?

June 9, 2009 12:32 PM  
OpenID britmandelo said...

Con-crud is universal and horrific. I think I might have gotten less sick in my wilder days where there might have been a lot of kissing, actually.

June 10, 2009 3:47 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Thanks for being the sort of dude willing to recognizing the subtle and deeply depressing sexism in "weeping like a little girl." (for those who don't see it, the implication is little girls are weak thus more weepy/emotional. Any display of non-violent emotion tends to be categorized as female, where female=inferior. At least in the US. And especially in boy-heavy subcultures, like fandom.)
Using the feminine as an insult is so incredibly common that most people either don't think about or, if they do, the try to come up with some sort of half-cocked defense that enables them to cling to a familiar phrase without having to think about the icky underlying cultural assumptions. It makes me both happy and sad to see you noticed. Happy because, yay, you are a dude who brains such things. Sad because it seems such a rare occurrence I felt surprised to read it, and compelled to compliment you for it. =(

Random unsolicited advice: A hot toddy is the absolute Best Thing Ever for an ouchy throat. And also very comforting Feel better. =)

June 10, 2009 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear sad that you were poorly- glad your better though and hope it did'nt affect the traveling too much. on the Bruce Campbell note (prolly old news to Americans)but went to see Drag Me To Hell- it was AWESOME!! Brucie rocks almost as much as you Pat

June 11, 2009 7:21 AM  
Blogger Brice said...

This post has been removed by the author.

June 11, 2009 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Izola said...

Jess is right, hot toddy FTW. And i know this lacks tact, but im in-your-face-ly saying please please finish Book 2. Im very compulsive about story-lines, just look at my WoW character.

Keep up the Genius.

(i'll buy 2 copies if u release it

June 11, 2009 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Jonathon W said...

I can't believe you're gonna get to see Bruce! A couple guys parodied Bruce in their webcomic. There's like eight strips all about him. Kinda funny.

June 12, 2009 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would like to know how borders can put out a pre order for a wise mans fears when you have said it is only in rewrites it is confusing to laymen like me please clarify thanks

June 17, 2009 4:57 PM  

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