“Productive Coughs” has gotta be one of the simultaneously greatest and worst phrases in the American English lexicon. Unlike its medical cousins “explosive diarrhea” and “projectile vomiting”, having a “productive cough” is a good thing that is also disgusting, as opposed to simply disgusting.
Then there’s the whole Point of View aspect. For the cough sufferer, a productive cough is far preferable to the body-rattling, throat-searing “unproductive cough”. From the perspective of, say, the spouse of wife/husband who is coughing 10,000 times a day, both productive and unproductive coughs naturally lead one to thoughts of a return to being single. The “productive cough”, however, leads to more intense wistful daydreaming of a happy-go-lucky post-marriage environment in which one is not subjected to:
“Hey honey, the stuff I’m coughing up is now more yellow than green. Do you want to come look at it and tell me what you think?”
As euphemism, “productive cough” is right up there with “putting the dog to sleep” and “President Bush is considering his options”. It’s like one of those old Elvis Costello songs that musically sound as upbeat as “Sugar, Sugar” or “Everyone Knows It’s Windy”, but has lyrics closer in tone to that of a Nick Cave murder ballad.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve had quite a bit of time in recent hours to consider the “productive cough”, awakened over and over through the past night with punishing attempts at “productivity”. Not to mention a lovely, patient wife awakened over and over throughout the night as well. Methinks my wife did not spend the wee hours this morning considering the poetic semantics of the expression “productive cough”, but instead probably focused on the economic outcomes of a divorce or at least the addition of one or two bedrooms to our house.
Nevertheless, I can now proudly announce to all the blogosphere that I have begun to have “productive coughs”. Productive coughs, everybody! Whoo–hoo!
Do you want to see the colors present in the latest “batch” of productivity?
P.S.: You know, this is a “blog”. How about I post some photos?