Hump Day: Travails of cold season are upon us once again

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

“Bubby, I godda code.”

That’s what I would have said years ago when I was a kid and trying to tell my mother that I had a cold.

As I write this, I’m in the middle of a cold. Yay. I’ve had worse and I shouldn’t be complaining since some of you reading this have or have had illnesses or conditions much worse than the common cold and would trade places with me in a flash.

A cold will be gone in a few days. The same can’t be said for other ailments. The graveyard is full of people who wish they would have just had a cold.

But sometimes, just sometimes, no matter what you have, you just have to sit back and whine a little bit. Being a typical man, I like to whine when I’m sick. The only thing is that there’s no one to wait on me hand and foot. The cats haven’t learned how to use the stove yet and would rather just spend their time plotting my untimely death, while the dog just sits around looking impossibly cute and wanting to be taken for a walk.

When you have other beings that rely on you for being fed and cared for, they don’t really care that you’re sick. Twice a day, I have three pets that begin the “stare down” about an hour before meal time. If I’m sick, they do it anyway. Luckily, I don’t get sick very often other than a couple of colds per year and a headache here and there.

I’m pretty sure I know where I got this cold, too. You know when you’re talking to someone or visiting their home and they don’t warn you beforehand that they’re sick? You shake hands or hug or just touch things they’ve just touched (door knobs, etc.) and then a few minutes later, you notice something.

The sniffling. The mouth-breathing. The watery eyes. The odd little cough here and there.

“Oh my God, I’m with a sick person.” That’s when I want to scream. Why didn’t they warn me first? Why didn’t they tell me to wear that head-to-toe decontamination suit I own for this very occasion?

Then I get paranoid. “Did I touch my eyes? My mouth? My nose? Have the germs infiltrated? Where’s my hand sanitizer? Do I have enough to cover myself from head to toe? Will I be arrested for stripping naked and covering myself with the stuff in the middle of the street after I leave their house?”

The odd thing is, when I find myself inadvertently in the presence of someone with a bad cold, I hesitate to use hand sanitizer in front of them because I don’t want to offend them. Weird, eh? It seems like some sort of unwritten rule of etiquette. Unless they tell you they’re sick, you have to pretend that they’re not – at least until you’re alone, when cover yourself in kerosene and start knocking on doors in the neighbourhood to ask if you can borrow a match.

“Excuse me, ma’am? I was just in the presence of someone with a cold. Would you be so kind as to set me on fire so that I may decontaminate myself?” Hey, I didn’t say I was the brightest person in the world, but at least I wouldn’t have to worry about the cold.

I do appreciate it when people tell me they’re sick before I see them. Depending on what stage they’re at, I’ll make my own decision. If they’re getting over the cold and the worst is over, then I usually don’t have a problem with it. It’s when they’re in full “I’m surely going to die!” mode that I really don’t want to be around them.

The fact is I’m pretty sure I know who gave me this cold. They were actually doing me a favour, too, so maybe this is payback. Halfway through the conversation, I realized they had a bad cold. “Oh no! They’re sick!! Ack!” It would have been rude to run out of their house screaming like a little girl, but that’s what I felt like doing. So, I toughed it out and doused myself in hand sanitizer as soon as I got in the car.

By then it was apparently too late, though. A few days later, the tickle in the throat started. The stuffed-up nose. They clogged sinuses. Finally, I had to give in to the fact that I had a cold.

It seems worse when you actually admit to yourself that you have a cold, right? I hold off mentioning it for as long as possible because the minute I admit that I have one, it’s like the cold has a mind of its own and notices that I’ve surrendered to it. That’s when the germs start texting each other on their smartphones to tell them that they’ve won. “He actually told someone he has a cold! Attack!” Then, it gets worse.

By the time you read this, the cold will likely be a lot better. That’s a good thing. I’ll sit back and read this wondering what all the fuss was about. Then I’ll meet someone else who’s sick and punch them in the head so they don’t come near me, then speed over to the nearest butcher shop and ask them if they wouldn’t mind putting my hand through the meat grinder. “It touched someone who’s sick. Unfortunately, it must die.”

Right now, though, my newest food group includes strong cough drops (the kind that practically bring tears to your eyes, they’re great!), chewing gum (helps with the coughing, too) and every kind of pill, syrup and potion there is. Wish me luck, and if you see me in the next few days, I won’t be offended if you run the other way screaming.

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