In Praise of the Common Cold

Let’s talk about the common cold.  I’ve been suffering from a cold.  We suffer from colds, just as we suffer from tuberculosis or cancer.  Okay, maybe those are different, but it’s still proper to claim suffering.  Both TB and cancer have one advantage–they are, to some extent at least, curable.  The cold is not.

The cold is known by many names–nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis and acute coryza.  You can have a head cold or a chest cold.  I’ve heard people down in the mountains of Kentucky where I grew up claim to have a “cold in the back,”  which is, quite frankly, medically impossible.  I’m not a doctor, but even I know better than that.

Not only is the cold incurable, it’s not even preventable.  Oh, you can wash your hands like Howard Hughes if you’d like.  You’ll still get a cold.  Forget about antibacterial cleansers.  It’s not a bacterium.  Same goes for antibiotics.  That’s right:  Antibiotics, the miracle drugs, are useless when faced with the common cold.

There is no vaccine, and there probably won’t ever be one.  Hell, I’m vaccinated against diphtheria, and I don’t even know what that is.  I don’t know anyone who’s had diphtheria, but everyone I know has had a cold.  Maybe that’s because of the vaccine.   The cold’s strength is that it has many causes, rendering it impervious to vaccination.

Dozens of viruses can cause a cold.  Think about that.  How can you avoid them all?  You can’t.  They’re everywhere.  Shake hands with someone.  That person might have just coughed the virus into his hand.  Consider all the weird crap flying around in the air that you can’t see.  Doorknobs, car handles, coffee cups, keyboards, telephones, cute babies, kindly dowagers, rank strangers, good friends, family and everything and everyone else on Earth are crawling with viruses.  We have no defense.

According the Mayo Clinic–and that’s a plenty smart crowd right there–the virus can come in through your mouth, nose and eyes.  EYES?  Okay, I’ll just close my eyes and hold my breath.  Now, I’m safe.

The most common cold virus is the rhino-virus.  That just sounds awful.  You think the Bird Flu is bad?  How about catching something from a freakin’ rhino?

The bottom line is that the cold is everywhere. Hence, it is common, I suppose.  You’re going to catch it or, more accurately, it will catch you.  When it does, all sorts of weirdness happens.

The human body is amazing machinery.  Despite our best efforts to destroy it through neglect and abuse, it keeps chugging along.   Then, we are exposed to the cold, and it gets us.  The virus crawls into us, and we don’t even know it.  We can’t avoid it.  If it were more difficult to contract, perhaps we’d have a chance.  “Say, would mind holding my snot rag?”  No civilized person would ask such favor nor would any sane man agree to this request.  We will, however, gladly shake the hand of a stranger.  The cold knows this.

A bit of good news is that you can’t catch a cold from actually getting cold.  You can go outside naked, and you won’t get sick.  Your neighbors might, but you’ll be okay–assuming you don’t freeze to death.   The belief that a cold is caused by cold air is an old wives’ tale, and we know old wives are terribly unreliable.  In fact, you’re more likely to never catch a cold if you just stand outside–far away from people with colds.

We’ve all had colds.  Sometimes, they aren’t too bad–just a few days of sniffling and coughing.  Sometimes–like the one I now have– they are awful.  You ache and cough and sneeze.  Your head fills with enough mucous to supply a healthy human for years.  You don’t sleep well.  You’re tired all the time.  Give it a week, and you’ll feel better.  That’s how it goes with colds.

How do you know if you have a cold?  Well, the snot is a good indicator. The cold causes us to produce prodigious amounts of mucous.  I guess there’s a reason for that, but it’s really gross.  You can try to blow it all out through your nose, but that never works.  As soon as you expel some copious amount, somehow it fills right back up.  Plus, you then have the displeasure of handling or perhaps carrying with you a snot rag–the nastiest of all accessories.

Most of the time, we have no choice but to actually swallow the mucous as it continually drains into our bodies.  Any time you sniffle, you’re really just sucking the snot back into your head so that you can swallow it.   You’re constantly producing and drinking snot.  No wonder a cold makes you feel so bad.

(As aside, my mother did not allow the use of the word “snot.”  She said it “nauseated” her.  She preferred “mucous” or “phlegm,” one of the nastiest words in the English language.)

By the way, have you ever seen one of those people who just blows his damn nose on the ground?  (I say “his,” because I’ve never seen a woman do it.)  This guy kind of pinches the end of his nose, pulls it slightly and cuts loose.  It should be okay to shoot someone who does that.

I heard somewhere that all the stuff that makes you feel bad (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, aches) are actually signs that your immune system is at working attacking the offending virus.  If so, I have a tremendous immune system, because it’s made me feel like road kill for days now.

A sniffle or perhaps some congestion could be the first signs.  Maybe you have a little cough or a sneeze or two.  Then, the mucous factory goes into three shifts of production, 24/7.  The cold has you in its icy grip from which there is no escape, at least for a week or so.  What do you do?

You can take medicine, but it won’t cure you.  It will treat your symptoms, but they won’t go away.  You can take a decongestant.  It will help a little.  Oh, all the mucous is still there, it’s just dammed up in your head now.  Cough medicine can help, especially if it’s laced with codeine or morphine or something like that.  Hell, you’ll still cough, but you won’t care anymore.

I like Mucinex.  It actually makes the mucous drain even faster, turning into a sort of snot water.  I don’t why something that gross makes me feel better, but it does.  Sometimes, I will mix Mucinex with something that does the exact opposite by trying to dry up the mucous.  Maybe I’ll slug some cough syrup as a chaser.  Then, I end up with new symptoms or “side effects,” as the doctors call them.

When I was a kid, my mother would rub vapor rub on my chest and under my nose.  I have no idea what this was supposed to do.  Maybe stinking like that crap makes the cold itself seem like no big deal.

Despite the power and prevalence of the common cold, it still gets little respect.  It’s a common cold, after all.  Ever hear of common cancer?  Ask someone if he or she is sick, you might get this response:  “No. It’s just a cold.”  You’ll never hear:  “I’m fine.  It’s just syphilis.” 

One reason the cold doesn’t get more respect is that it won’t kill you.  It won’t.  There was the Spanish Flu Epidemic.  We’ll never have a Mongolian Cold Epidemic.   A cold just won’t kill you.  It’s like being attacked by swarm of gnats.  It will annoy the Hell out of you and make you miserable; however, in the end, it will spare your life.

It could be that’s the reason there is no cure.  Why waste time trying to cure something that won’t kill people? Our resources are better spent on cancer, AIDS, TB and the like.  Even less deadly diseases like leprosy, polio and small pox are much more serious with their maiming and crippling side effects.  Carrying around a snot rag is no big deal compared to living in an iron lung.

You might now say:  “I know this guy who got a cold, and then died of pneumonia.”  To this, I say:  So what?  That poor bastard died of pneumonia, not a cold.  No one ever died of a cold.  Blame pneumonia if you like, but don’t put that rap on the common cold.

Despite the fact that the cold will not slay us, it still demands respect. It is pervasive and incurable.  Think about all the diseases we can cure now.  Not the cold.  We can’t even vaccinate against it.  Hell’s Bells, we wiped out small pox and are damn close to doing the same thing to polio.  The cold?  Nope.

Consider Magic Johnson.  He was diagnosed with HIV over twenty years ago.  Look at the man now!  He looks great. Feels great.  If he had a damn cold for twenty years, he’d look and feel like crap.  Would it kill him? No, it would not, but after two or three years, he’d be okay with dying.

The cold doesn’t discriminate.  From the homeless to the landed gentry, everyone gets a cold.  If a billionaire gets a deadly form of cancer, you can bet he’ll get every treatment known to man.  It will be much better than you or I would get.  Give that same man a cold, and they’ll hand him a snot rag and a bottle of NyQuil.  He has no more chance of a cure than a vagrant. The common cold:  The disease world’s great equalizer.

Despite making us feel like crud, the cold is relatively gentle in its effects on us.  Yes, you’ll sniffle, but you won’t bleed from your eyes.  You’ll cough a hell of a lot, but your organs won’t fail.  You may get a fever, but it will be low-grade.  You won’t get paralyzed or have seizures or go blind.  You won’t vomit or have uncontrollable diarrhea.  Yes, it may be worse for infants and the elderly, but isn’t that true of all diseases?

So, the cold may well be common.  Indeed, it is likely swirling about your face at this very moment.  You can’t stop it.  Just accept your fate.  It would reckless to suggest that the cold is our friend.  It certainly is not.  It is, however, worthy of our respect as the unconquerable granddaddy of all diseases.  Now, hand me my snot rag.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2014

Are You Mad? The Five Signs of Lunacy

If you’re anything like me, you occasionally wonder if you are going insane or, perhaps, are already there.  “Insane” isn’t really the right word.  That’s actually more of a legal term, requiring some sort of adjudication of your condition. Few of us will ever reach the point that such measures are necessary.   Madness and lunacy are much better terms.  Regardless of whether you call it madness, lunacy, bonkers or just plain crazy, we all think about it from time to time.  (We don’t?  Hmmm.  Maybe it’s just me.  That’s not good at all.)

In any event, I have identified certain markers of madness that may benefit others.  These tell-tale signs should be used as warnings  that we are close to veering off the path of the well-balanced into the median of lunacy.

I have had experience with all of these at various points in my life.  In fact, I’ve had days where I’ve experienced them all.  Those were not particularly good days, by the way.

I must qualify all of this by disclosing that I am NOT a mental health professional.  Indeed, I have no medical or psychological training whatsoever.  I am particularly unqualified to diagnose any condition or to offer any advice regarding appropriate treatment.  So, should you actually be a lunatic, do not contact me for advice.  In fact, don’t contact me at all.  You could be dangerous, you know.

1. YOU ARE VERY IMPORTANT

Have you ever thought that you are a very important person, a VIP as it were?  Now, I’m not talking about being important to your family or friends. Don’t confuse this with being important to your dog, either.  Your dog thinks you are the lead dog.  If you think you are a dog, that’s another set of issues altogether.

I’m talking about general importance.  Your opinions are important, for example.  If people disagree with you, it is an outrage.  They are fools, because you are always correct.  Those who disagree with you are Communists, racists, homophobes, anarchists, ne’er do wells, welfare queens, robber barons or many other such disagreeable sorts, depending upon your particular view of the world.  These people lack your intelligence and insight.  They don’t know as much as you know.  Not only are these people wrong, they–and the rest of us–MUST know your opinion on everything for you are important and must be heard.

Chances are that you are like most us and only want to listen to people with whom you agree.  It’s likely–almost certain, in fact–that the only people who want to listen to you are those who share the same views as you.  Everyone else doesn’t want to listen to it.  Sorry, but that’s how it goes.  If you can’t accept that, madness lurks just around the corner.

Have you ever had the urge to say “Don’t you know who I am?”  I know I have.  Sadly, I’ve even said if before–and not just to myself, either.  Perhaps, if I were–say–George Clooney that would make some sense.  But, if I were George Clooney people would actually know who I am, and I wouldn’t have to say it.  Even thinking that is bad.  Thinking it may be even worse, because you might believe people do know who you are when they really don’t.  Then, you just walk around thinking that you shouldn’t have to stand in lines or wait in traffic or pay your bills or wear pants.  Maybe, we all should say it out loud every now and then just to be reminded that they don’t know who we are and don’t care.

2. YOUR JOB IS REALLY IMPORTANT

This could be a subset of the first sign above.  Your job may actually be important.  If you’re a firefighter, cop, oncologist or teacher you certainly have an important occupation.  People depend on you.  That is a good thing.  Don’t confuse that with your job making you important.

I am a lawyer.  I think that’s an important job.  My clients depend on me to get them the results they want.  Each case I handle is extremely important to those folks.  Many people don’t think much of lawyers.  We rank slightly above crack dealers and slightly below pimps in the public’s view.  Used car dealers and insurance salesman are viewed largely the same.  Yet, we all think we’re important.  The painful truth is that a lot of people can do our jobs just as well–and even better–than we do.

Mathematician/Philosopher and all-round know-it-all Bertrand Russell once said that one of the signs of an impending nervous breakdown is the belief that your job is extremely important.  He was a lot smarter than I am, but I’m not sure that’s correct.  What I am sure of is that the belief that ME doing that job is extremely important is a bad sign.

I’m not irreplaceable.  Neither are you.  If you think you are, try this:  Go in to your place of business and quit.  I did that once.  Guess what?  They were fine without me.  Someone else started doing the stuff I had been doing, and everything continued on as usual.

I’ve worked with people who died unexpectedly.  People were really upset, some because they were human beings and others because death disrupts the workplace, what with the grieving and funerals and what have you.  Soon, though, we were trying to figure out who would get the deceased’s furniture or office.  Some of us were concerned that we might have to do more work.

So, the reality is that if you die at work, someone gets your credenza.  That’s it.

3. YOU HEAR STUFF

We all know that hearing things can be a bad sign.  Auditory hallucinations cause much trouble in the world.  Rarely do we read of “voices” saying things like “Have a good day” or “Be nice to someone.”  Usually, it’s stuff like “Eat that dog” or “Wear her skin as a vest.”  These voices–at least I’ve been told–seem real, so we do as they command.  If you’ve got that going on, for God’s sake, do something about it.

There is other stuff you can hear.  God, for example.  I’m not talking about something like a friend saying “God spoke to my heart.”  That’s a kind of metaphorical observation that means “I got this feeling.”  We’ve all had that.  I mean God actually talking and you possibly talking back.  Think of it like this:  God went silent late in the Old Testament.  Why would He start talking to you?  If it’s because you are really important, re-read my comments above.

Maybe the radio talks to you.  If you’re driving down the road screaming at Sean Hannity, that’s a problem.  He can’t hear you.  Perhaps you think 1970’s singer Dan Hill is crooning to you when you hear Sometimes When We Touch on the Oldies station.  He isn’t.  I used to think Olivia Newton-John was singing to me.  I don’t think that anymore, unless I’m watching Grease.

You may have pets.  You may love your pets more than any human.  Good for you, but they don’t talk.  Even if you talk to them in exaggerated baby talk that would embarrass any self-respecting infant, your dog or cat isn’t talking back.  If they do, just Google “Son of Sam” and stay far away from me.

Oh, don’t confuse this with seeing things.  There many benign explanations for this phenomenon–strong drink, drugs, poor lighting, etc.  Don’t worry about this unless the things you see start talking to you.

4. YOU DON’T TAKE YOUR MEDICATION

There’s nothing wrong with medication, assuming it’s prescribed and you need it.  Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Zoloft and the like have done a world of good by altering troubling brain chemistry.  If you stop taking it, though, we have a problem.  This is especially true if you’re taking any sort of anti-psychotic medication.

When people start feeling better, they don’t want to take their medication anymore.  They are, in their dysfunctional minds, “cured.”  Here’s what you should do:  The day you stop taking your medication, note that this is the day you start down the road to full-blown lunacy.  You might even want to mark it on your calendar.

5. YOU BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACIES

We don’t need to belabor this point.  Suffice to say that if you believe in any vast conspiracy that has remained secret for many years, you are not firing on all cylinders.  Here is a just sampling of topics about which you may believe a conspiracy exists:

  • The moon landing
  • 9-11
  • Marilyn Monroe’s death
  • Elvis Presley’s death
  • Bob Denver’s death
  • The Kennedy Assassination
  • Barack Obama’s birthplace
  • The firing of the original Darren on Bewitched
  • Anything involving a “New World Order”
  • Area 51
  • Communists
  • Big Foot
  • Yeti
  • The Knicks winning the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery

This list could be 10 times longer, but we’ll stop for brevity’s sake.  There may be conspiracies peculiar to your own circumstances.  For instance, your child may do poorly in school.  You may believe that this is a result of teachers, administrators and fellow students conspiring against your child.  Consider that your child may not be very bright or could be down right lazy.  It happens.

Try this.  Go out and see if you can line up 10 people you know for or against anything.  It ain’t easy.  Imagine now that you were wanting to kill someone with their help.  Not likely.

Just repeat to yourself each day:  There are no conspiracies.  If you hear a voice repeating it back to you, well, you know.

CONCLUSION

These are the five markers of madness.  You’ll notice that I didn’t delve into actual mental illnesses such as bipolar disease, schizophrenia, depression and the like.  Again, I have no medical training.  These specific diagnoses are best left to the professionals or you can easily diagnose yourself by searching on the Internet for your particular symptoms.  Here is an educational video to help you better understand such diseases of the mind.

There is good news.  Any one of these peculiarities, standing alone, is likely no more than a sign that you are weird or–if you are wealthy–eccentric.  Two or more, sadly, point directly to crippling lunacy.  You may be fortunate and become pleasantly mad–like many town characters throughout our great land.

It’s time to stop–at least that’s what the voices are telling me.  You know how pushy they can be.

©thetrivaltroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Flu Blues

I don’t have the flu–at least not yet.  My wife does.  So does my 10-year-old son.  My other sons–17 and 19–also don’t have it.  My 17-year-old rarely leaves the basement and, when he does, it is usually out the back door.  I find this habit both annoying and disquieting, but now I embrace it as preventative health care.  My oldest son is home from college on Christmas break.  If he can avoid the spreading virus for the next 24 hours, he will be on his way back to Pittsburgh.  He attends Carnegie Mellon University, the alma mater of such diverse personalities as Andy Warhol, John Forbes Nash and Lenny and Squiggy of Laverne & Shirley fame.  His academic rigors can ill afford to be interrupted by disease.  On my advice, he is staying away from his childhood home except to pack his belongings and flee.

How bad is this flu?  Pretty bad.  My 10-year-old, normally an energetic cuss, has been rendered almost immobile.  My wife, too, has been felled, for the time being at least.  The good news is that the horrid virus has not diminished her ability to bark orders.  Thus, our home will continue to run like a well-oiled machine.

I now face a conundrum. My office is less than two miles from home, making it an oasis from the disease around me.  I must, of course, occasionally visit them while they are sick.  How can I make enough of an appearance to still be engaged as the titular head of the household, yet protect myself as any sane person would?

Before proceeding, you should know that the flu fascinates me a bit.  Several years ago I read The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry.  It is an excellent book about the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918.  THAT was a bad flu, killing in the neighborhood of 40 million people, including 600,000 in one month in the U.S. Since then, I’ve read a lot of material about the flu.  If I wanted to appear brainy, I could rant about various flu strains, antigen drift, corona virus and other minutia.  But it all comes down to this:  The flu comes in many forms, changes constantly, is highly contagious and incurable.  The good news, as Barry notes in his book, is that–even its deadlier forms–it’s just the flu.  It won’t kill you.  Probably.  Now, if you’re elderly, it can lead to pneumonia which no old person wants.  Bad stuff there.  Much worse than the flu.

How do you know if you have the flu?  Oh, there are many symptoms.  Here is a simple test:  Are you coughing like you have Black Lung and do you feel like crap?  If so, you may have the flu.

Even though I won’t pretend to be a doctor, I do want to clarify something.  There is no stomach flu.  There are viruses which will cause unimaginable gastrointestinal disruption and strip you of your dignity.  You can be like I was about year ago.  Start feeling a little weird in your stomach and then–BOOM!–puking pizza through your nose for an hour.  But, that’s not the flu.  Could be a virus. Maybe it’s bacteria, i.e., food poisoning.  Just don’t call it the flu.  The flu is the flu.  If you say you have the stomach flu, it makes as much sense as saying you have a facial hernia.

Anyway, back to me (as if we ever left that topic to begin with).  Once the disease hit, I had to think fast to protect myself.  I considered several options before settling on one:

RUN LIKE HELL

Like any animal, fight or flight is my reaction to terror.  In this case, flight is the only reasonable option.  My initial plan was to get a room at the Hampton Inn across the highway from my home.  It’s close to my office and home.  I could stay there until the trouble passes, plus feign immediate availability for the sick.

I love Hampton Inn, by the way.  I travel a fair amount for work to many places that don’t have 5 Star Hotels.  Most areas do, however, have a Hampton Inn.  They are all pretty much the same.  Nice, clean rooms, pool, exercise room and free breakfast.  Good deal.

My wife shot down my running away plan.  I simply asked, “How bad would it be if I got me a room over at the Hampton and just brought you all stuff when you need it?”  Her answer:  “Very bad [cough, cough, cough].”

PLAN B

I have a friend who will occasionally come up with an idea for something.  He will call these ideas “Plan Q.”  Why?  I don’t know.  I considered calling this Plan Q, but–while a fine fellow–he is a litigious sort who would likely take umbrage at this.  So, I call this Plan B.

Here are the steps of Plan B:

1.  Wife and Son retreat to the master bedroom of our home on the second floor (now called the “Phlegm Chamber”),  It has a queen-sized bed, television, sofa, ample books and a bathroom.  In keeping with today’s lingo, we will call these wretched souls the “Ratchet.”

2.  Dry foodstuffs, MREs, liquids, medicine and supplies will have been previously stocked in the Phlegm Chamber.  This will include, but not be limited to, Theraflu, Tamiflu, Kleenex, NyQuil, Advil, Tylenol, magazines, newspapers and a legal pad in case they want to draw.

3.  Once the Ratchet are safely ensconced, duct tape will place along the door facing.  This will ensure that the deadly miasma produced by their constant breathing and coughing will remain contained within the Phlegm Chamber, unable to escape to the rest of the house, now known as the “Clean Zone.”

4.  Cell phones will be provided to allow text messaging and limited phone calls to me.  I will guarantee a response within two to three hours of any message left with me, unless I am napping.  In that case, I may respond the next day, if at all.

5.  The Ratchet will not be allowed in the Clean Zone until they have gone 24 hours without a fever.  This is a bit of gamble, because I’m not insane enough to check their temperatures myself.  However, if they venture out while still feverish, I’m sure there’s some app for constantly monitoring a rectal thermometer.  If not, I’ll get my egghead kid at Carnegie Mellon to invent one.

6.  Once the Ratchet are able to leave the Phlegm Chamber, they will immediately visit a doctor to confirm that they are no longer contagious.  Once this is confirmed in writing, they are free to venture about the Clean Zone wearing appropriate surgical masks until all coughing has subsided.  Since the Clean Zone is likely to be a bit messy, the Ratchet are then expected to help straighten up a bit.

The problem with Plan B, despite its ingenious detail, is that it requires cooperation from the Ratchet.  Thus far, that cooperation has been lacking.

HOWARD AND ME

The name Howard Hughes likely doesn’t mean much to young folks.  To people of a certain age, like me, his name conjures up the image of fabulous wealth, daring adventure and, of course, crippling lunacy.

Hughes made fortunes in the tool, film and aviation industries.  He once declared that his goal was to be the greatest golfer, pilot and film maker on Earth and the richest man in the world.  Except for golf, he could at various times have laid claim to all those titles.

When Hughes was in his 50’s, he developed, at the very least, serious obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Eventually, he retreated to one of his hotels, sitting in the dark, naked, watching the film Ice Station Zebra over and over.  He was so obsessed with germs that he wouldn’t wearing clothes or even bathe.  He covered his body in Kleenex and put the empty boxes on his feet.  His hair grew to his shoulders and beard to his chest.  He collected his bodily waste in jars.  He hired a staff of Mormons to serve him, because he believed them to be clean.  He had a good point about that.

A dramatic recreation of Howard Hughes's last days.

A dramatic recreation of Howard Hughes’s last days.

I’ve thought about adopting Hughes’s lifestyle, at least until the plague passes.  But, I’ll have to pass.  First, I’m concerned that I would quickly become enamored of living the life of a billionaire and not be able to return to my Regular Joe existence.  Second, being naked bothers me, especially in front of Mormons.  Finally, although it sounds like it would be effective defense against influenza, I suspect that I might expose myself to other equally deadly germs.

FULL COURT PRESS

I’m left with an all-out defensive effort to protect myself.  Here are my tools:

  • MASKS:  I am wearing a surgical mask at all times.  Two, on occasion.  The downside is that I’ve discovered that I have foul breath.  My breathing also fogs up my reading glasses.
johnboy

Your author fends off sure death.

  • GLOVES:  I’m wearing latex gloves.  That’s right–latex.  I don’t have a latex allergy.  Or a gluten allergy, either.  In fact, if they made latex gloves infused with gluten, I’d wear them just to prove what a bad ass I am.
  • HAND WASHING:  I’m washing my hands every minute or so–even with gloves on.  My skin is now like that of radiation burn victim, but I’m germ free.
  • LOOK, DON’T TOUCH:  This is simple.  Don’t touch anything. If you have to touch, use your elbows or feet.  The one exception is the remote control, of course.  You can scrub it with bleach and it’s as good as new.
  • BOILING:  Boil things.  You’d be surprised at how many things can be boiled.  Food, for example.  Toothbrushes. Shoes.  Some clothes.  Your hands.  When in doubt, boil it.  Caveat: It doesn’t work well with electronic devices.
  • MEDICINE:  Take all manner of medication.  If the Ratchet have prescriptions, take those.  Buy your own.  Just keep taking them.  Yes, the flu is incurable–as far as we know.  You might hit the right combination and win a Nobel Prize to boot.

This last plan, like many good ones, was born of desperation.  Yet, it has been remarkably effective so far.  Of course, the germs are everywhere, stalking me, crawling on me.  I am certain that all of this will ultimately fail me.  What now?  I wonder if Ice Station Zebra is on Blu-Ray?

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013