I don’t believe in flu shots. Why should I? I never get the influenza virus. Why would I inject little flu antibodies into my organism to stop myself from getting something I’ve never had? My immune system is flawless. Seems irresponsible to me.
Of course, I now have the flu.
If this column tends to ramble a little, it’s because I can’t quite string a coherent thought together, let alone get it to the computer before it flees from my mind. It may also read like an episode of “Captain Underpants,” so if the bodily functions that we all share happen to shock your civilized sensibilities, please move on to Gene Weingarten now.
My body has turned into this giant sack of phlegm. The thin veneer of dry exterior skin is a façade disguising me for what I really am. And what I am is disgusting. I seem to produce some form of runoff from all orifices except my ears. If you cut me, do I not bleed? Yes, but I might sneeze first.
I have a lot of time to think about my body and I find it fascinating. Mucous and snot. This redundant discharge is what I’m made of. Not snips and snails and puppy dog tails as wonderful as that sounds. I have nothing else so I have become obsessed with the etymology of words that describe the flu and bodily functions in general.
The English language is a work of art. Who sat around and dreamt up such magical words? Uglier words to describe uglier effluent couldn’t be imagined. I wonder if these words just popped into the heads of those language originators or if they had to have some sort of booger-creating disease so they could lie around and think this stuff up?
I suppose when your body spends all day creating all of these different products, and tries to expel them all at the same time, it is easier for your mind to revert to a more primal state and think of words that probably have their origins in some cave. I know I’ve said “Ugh” a lot this week so I’m not far removed from the cave.
Not to change the subject, but how did cavemen cope with the flu? Did they just lie in cave dirt and shake and shiver under the hides of dead animals? Where did they get NyQuil? It must have been a terrible existence because what I’ve been through has been bad; I have no idea what terrible would be like.
I’ve been prone to curing my disease with natural remedies like rose hip tea sweetened with honey. Cavemen probably drank the same concoctions if they were smart enough to gather rose hips and raid honeybee nests before they got the flu. They likely had the same results that I have had with these natural remedies. A little hydration, perhaps mild to severe anaphylactic shock for the honey gatherers, and a quick trip to the bushes.
While they were using the bush they dreamt up words like “honey” and “rose” to describe the cures that got them out from under the hides. How did they come up with such wonderful words? Rose is such a lovely and soft word that perfectly describes the beauty of the flower. No hard consonants. Honey is the same. Sweet and soft. Phlegm also has no hard consonants, but why is that stray “G” in there? Just to make it sound, I don’t know, phlegmy?
Anyway, here I lie staring at the ceiling. I am worthless. I care little for the politics of the world. My banter is cut down to “bant” and all I want is to be healthy again. I don’t feel like slaying any sacred cows or tweaking any corporate noses. My place is under the hides, shivering in the mess my own body has made of me. Ugh!
Somewhere out there is the caveman that gave me this disease. Please, if you have the flu or anything like it, stay in your own cave and don’t share it with your fellow man. Don’t go to work or ride the bus or cough any of your phlegm on anyone. Remain calm and think of beautiful words that will get you through this.
Like NyQuil. Or flu shot.
Email Johnny at firstname.lastname@example.org.