02
Apr
07

Sick Time

As spring takes its sweet time getting here, I am reminded that, in this period of seasonal transition, i.e. April (the best April Fool’s joke I’ve seen in a while is yesterday’s temperature), one is well served to guard against germs and other nasties roaming the range. They seem to really sock it to you this time of year as the changing conditions play havoc with immune systems everywhere. I myself just got over my annual cold relatively unscathed. Now, right on schedule, it’s time for some minor throat trauma.

It’s around this time last year that I was fighting off an as yet undefinitively identified infection that was threatening to eat away the roof of my mouth. I can still feel the scars where the festering craters of decay had formed. I can still see the puzzled faces of the doctors with their pen lights aimed into my mouth (What is that?). I can still hear the otorhinolaryngologist wagging his finger, implying that my fondness for sex with men was probably at the root of my problem. (I still can’t figure that one out.) I can feel the needle pushed deep into my ass cheek for the first of a series of three just-in-case injections. (Praise Jesus, I didn’t need installments 2 or 3.)

The best part was the weight I lost avoiding, at first, solid food, and then all food, full stop.

Now we wait for the summer sun to come and burn off the fog of infection. Until then, people are getting pretty gross.

Yesterday while staring out my office window toward the street, I saw a woman sneeze on her kid. She was facing my building, pushing a little girl in an open stroller across the street. She reared back like a pitcher winding up for a fastball and let loose what looked to be an enormously satisfying sneeze. A thick mist issued from her face directly downward, raining droplets of biological refuse, visible from three stories up, onto her precious little charge.

She sniffed back some gack and carried on without pause.

Good luck, kid, I thought.

A day later, another woman on the subway let go of the chrome pole she was grasping so she could sneeze at her hand, only half covering her face, and then put it back exactly where it was on that pole. Another woman on the pole, wisely wearing gloves, registered her shock with a flurry of incredulous blinking and stepped aside to join a companion a few feet away.

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