Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lysol, Latex and Love, Life in the age of influenza

When I call into work sick for one day, it’s rare and most likely connected to something that wanted out of my digestive tract more than it wanted to stay. However, when I call in the second morning my employer fears that the third call he receives will be from my undertaker. I’m usually not sick. I went four years of high school without taking a single sick day; I worked my first eleven years post high school before I took my first two sick days.

I attribute my being able to make this claim because of my clean living and wholesome lifestyle. (You may now quit snickering.) By many people’s standards I am Mr. Goodie Twoshoes and they never want to believe my claim of clean living. I’m neither bragging nor complaining when I say that at 47 years old I have never been drunk, in fact my last libation was about eight years ago in a local sleazy gay bar where I had a gin and tonic, double lime and only a half shot of gin. The bartender’s response to my request was, “careful there tiger.” Were I not lactose sensitive I would have changed my order to a glass of skim mike and an orange slice. (Fruit and dairy, now that’s healthy, right?)

I have never smoked a cigarette first hand, though through my childhood and youth my father saw to it that the entire family got to suck back a Marlboro Red Soft Pack a day; he smoked the other pack and a half at work.

Once in a while in my youth, as, “reckless” as it was, I confirmed that there were two one o’clocks on my digital time piece, though at home asleep often sounded as good as whatever I was doing. I was still able to sleep until seven thirty or eight in the morning on Sunday and I never missed Sunday school or church, but if at all possible I snuck in an afternoon, “religious” nap before going to youth group.

I was told by a former roommate that I’m a pretty healthy cook and eater. I know how to prepare a balanced, attractive meal and with a little butter, orange juice and brown sugar I can successfully hide the fact that I scorched the carrots because I became engrossed in, The Simpsons.

My healthy living comes to a grinding halt when it comes to exercise, yet I’m convinced that one can be a multi medal winning triathlon athlete, lean and svelte, gluten avoiding and you cannot out run, out swim or out bike the flu or a nasty cold. Yells and screeches by those along the sidelines of, “run Forrest run!” would not and could not have saved Mr. Gump from these maladies.

Just as the Center for Disease Control advises the other ingredient beyond what I have listed already is constant hand washing. In fact, I recently saw posted in a public restroom bi-lingual instructions on how to properly wash ones hands. Remember this is by CDC standards. Step 1: Turn on the hot water and allow it to run. Step 2: Pressing the soap dispenser with the left elbow, apply the provided pink pearly antibacterial soap into the palm of the left hand. (Figure that one out.) Step 3: Vigorously and with a vengeance, scrub your hands until the top layer of your epidermis begins to loosen and peel. Step4: Rinse in the boiling cauldron provided. Step 5: If an air dryer is provided press the start button with your right elbow and run your sterile paws together until the hot air ceases. Step 6: (You have two options here,) Use your shirt tail if long enough, to open the door for your escape or stand and wait until some unsuspecting or undereducated fool opens the door with his now corrupted hands and put your foot in the door and toss it open so you can get out without using your hands.

If you follow these six simple steps you can escape your exposure to colds, flu, leprosy, scurvy and malaria. This of course is putting aside the fact that the person standing at the next sink was hacking up a lung and not coughing into his elbow as suggested by the CDC while he was reading how to wash his hands.

I think the other great safety against winter illnesses is to avoid at all costs snot nosed children and the people who care for them. (Personal observation only.) As an adult do you really need to tickle Elmo? Leave their toys alone, talk about a breeding ground for instant death.

There is the great last resort that my family and co workers used on me upon my return to the workplace, homemade hazmat suits and copious amounts of Lysol, antibacterial hand cleaners, bleach saturated wipes and latex gloves.

Let’s face it, if the cure to the world’s ills is love, it never could have broken their barriers to have gotten to me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have sheets and towels to boil, a toothbrush to douse in gasoline and burn. There are some chicken feet and garlic bulbs to string for around my neck and I’ve got to cover my computer keyboard with Saran Wrap so that I can Google a recipe for a mustard plaster.


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