A Loco Viewpoint
Living Among Zombies
Given that summer didn’t arrive until September and spring stretched six months long, if asked what season we were in currently, my best answer would be “Flu Season”. Lately there seems to be lung-hacking, sinus-venting, nostril-oozing, sneeze-aholics everywhere; with more folks staggering around with serious Kleenex addictions than at a rom-com film fest. They dazedly lurch about the public square like zombie extras from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video only much scarier.
It is disgusting to be surrounded by an army of diseased individuals who spread misery and illness everywhere, like perverse germ fairies who cough into their hands and then offer to shake yours. Mind you, the alternative to coughing into your hand is to do the new, improved method espoused by medical professionals and drycleaners everywhere. This is where you discharge your surprise sinus moisture into the crook of your elbow. Although slightly more sanitary than covering your mouth with your hand, it has the inherent danger of leaving a sticky, gross mess halfway up your shirt sleeve, visible to all. It makes you a social pariah, especially at square dancing events. No one wants to dosey-doe with you when you’re sporting a slimy elbow. At least if you end up with the foul phlegm on your hand, you can nonchalantly put it in your pocket and hide your shame.
You can’t obsess about the cloud of sickly debris that hovers over the majority of the population during Flu Season, however. You start to think there must be traces of someone else's bronchial emissions covering every surface in a public place. You would be wrong, of course. There aren't traces of someone else's; there are bucketsfull of everyone else's.
Since denial has worked so well for me in most of life’s sticky situations, I try not to think about the sheen of infectious mucous or “infemuc” that covers everyone but me. I can’t help but feel there is a lot of futility in combating the problem with alcohol-based hand sterilizer and disposable wipes. This is somewhat ironic since alcohol works so well to solve all my other problems.
Take the situation at the grocery store, for example. You walk in the Star Trek-inspired sliding automatic doors and are confronted with two new, obligatory dispensers. One has towelettes to wipe your repulsive shopping cart handle with, because heaven only knows where the previous shopper's hands have been. Strangely, most don't go the extra mile and wipe down the area they are about to put food into, which would seem to make more sense.
The other dispenser is for goopy, smelly hand sanitizer. It doesn't matter how carefully you eradicate your coating of killer germs, though. After sterilizing your hands, you are about to touch products in the store that have been handled by who knows how many other humans; fellow shoppers, the manufacturer’s staff, that pimply-faced stock boy with the creepy smile… One shudders at the thought.
When you eventually end up at the cashier's, you will handle those products once more. You don't get to wipe down the debit card swipe dealie which has been handled by hundreds, if not thousands ahead of you. Of course you could pay with cash but money is, according to scientists who study such things, one of the filthiest items we handle in a day. The fibers retain kajillions of microbes, viruses and various other booger bits; although sensible folk realize not even the most frugal bacterium can live on a dollar, anymore, what with inflation and all. Hopefully, the new plastic Canadian banknotes will harbor fewer microbes than the hemp-based currency of the past. You can even wash them, but stay away from strong chemical-based cleaners or high dryer settings that will melt them beyond all recognition.
Another irony in our illustrative generic shopping trip is that after touching all that public ickiness, most shoppers march out of the store and head straight for the car without re-sterilizing their hands. It would make more sense to use hand sanitizer after immersion in the filth of the unwashed masses than before, but that doesn’t appear to be the norm.
So what can you do to avoid getting ill when you are being coughed on and sneezed at and generally under attack from the germ-filled mosh-pit that is the public arena? You can start with a flu shot, of course, unless you believe the government is injecting everyone with nano-sized GPS transmitters as has been conjectured by the foil hat enthusiasts. Don’t forget not to tense up when the doctor advises you he is about to thrust a chunk of metal into your tender arm flesh. Tense up and your shoulder will ache for days. Admittedly, not tensing up is similar to not showing fear when confronted by any wild animal who can gnaw your face off, in that it is pretty much impossible.
Another way to dodge the bronchial blues is to avoid going in public. Ever. Make sure whoever comes to your house first gets dipped in a 45 gallon drum of hand sanitizer before entering. (Ensure they are not smoking during this process.) Rather than shaking hands with people, maybe go oriental with a polite bow from ten or fifteen feet away. This is especially important if your visitor is a school-aged child who will be teeming with traces of every disease found in the entire student population. If it’s your own kid, maybe consider home-schooling.
So there are your choices. You can live like a germophobic hermit, insulating yourself from the disgusting carriers of dangerous diseases, namely your family and friends. Or you can ignore the problem as we have for the thousands, if not millions of years humankind has existed, (depending on your worldview) prior to hand sanitizer becoming cool.
Now excuse me, I’m going to buy a 45 gallon drum of hand sanitizer.
other articlesIt’s A Wonderful Play
The Beaker Report
Halloween is Sweet
Just Call me “Tubby”
Shaggy Dog Tale
Encounter at a Funeral
It’s a Wonderful Life
Jack & Jill Baby Shower
A Story about George
Pushing Mom Around
Sleeping was in Tents
Zucchini Gang Rides Again
A Luau To Remember
The Gazebo from Hell