Marfa Meanderthal: How to catch the flu

In case you didn’t get the flu last year and you’re feeling a little left out, here are a few pointers to help you have better luck this season. According to the news broadcasts, there is enough flu to go around, so nobody has to miss out on their fair share of misery and suffering. Just make sure you don’t get that nasty flu vaccine; it’s not guaranteed, but why take chances with your opportunity to join the ranks of the flu sufferers!

The first thing to keep in mind is that influenza is a very contagious, viral disease. Therefore, the easiest way by far to contract your own personal case is to get it from someone who already has it, and it seems as though most people are more than willing to share. The more people you can manage to be around, the greater your chances are that one or more of them will be infected, so seek out crowds. Indoor shopping malls and big-box stores are great, and movie theaters are even better. Any closed-in space with a lot of people in it will do fine. It’s a well-known fact that a prime method for sharing flu organisms is coughing, although just breathing can get the job done if you’re close enough. So try to get close to people with good coughs and runny noses. Public transportation, when available, is another excellent venue. Buses, trains and airplanes are really good if you can spend more than a few minutes on them, but hospitals and doctors’ office waiting rooms are the absolute best because you can find the most sick people there. That’s where people go to find help when they’re feeling ill, after all. And remember, a good sneeze is worth a gazillion germs.

Another great way to spread flu is by touch. Light switches, doorknobs, telephones, shopping cart handles – anything that a lot of people touch – are all just dandy for picking up diseases. Just be sure you don’t wash your hands too often; you could easily wash off your chances of catching something! Just think of it – somebody coughs or sneezes in a big way. Of course, he or she covers the mouth and nose, probably with his or her hand, in order not to spray germs and goo all over the place. This person then opens a door, turns on a light, pushes a shopping cart, or handles the merchandise in a store. And if that isn’t enough to make you shudder, the merchandise handled could be grocery store items, including fresh produce; or a restaurant menu. Then along comes the next person – in this case you – who handles the same items. You put your hands on the same things that those other coughy-sneezy hands have just been all over. Just for grins, let’s make this scene a grocery store. You cozy up your hands to the same handle on the same door or shopping cart, giving whatever germs got left behind there a nice warm place to incubate and reproduce. Then you fill your shopping list, handling all the things you intend to buy. So after shopping you go home, and you take those germs with you. They’re really going to love your home! They will also like your wallet, your car, and especially your kitchen surfaces. As a matter of fact, if you touch enough stuff you can have the little critters all over your house! True, they will begin to die off in a matter of minutes or hours, especially on non-porous surfaces, but if you brought enough of them home you can reasonably expect quite a number of them to reproduce or replicate and maintain a pretty fair likelihood of some kind of disease development. And, really, how many people go just one place each time they leave their homes? You can really up your chances by running several errands in a row, so be sure to go as many places as you can, and by all means try to use a lot of public restrooms. And don’t forget – don’t wash your hands too often.

Do be aware, however, that even following all these guidelines will not insure that what you manage to catch is actually the flu; it might just be a cold or pneumonia or something else you hadn’t counted on.

And the World Heath Organization and the Center for Disease Control are saying that we now have a wonderfully scary new virus, an import from China that they’re calling a coronavirus, that kills people. You just might end up with this instead of the flu you intended. The best places to get this new disease seem to be airports, especially international airports. It always helps to be well-informed so that you can catch what you want instead of leaving it up to chance. It all spreads pretty much the same way, so it pays to “know before you go,” unless you’re not that picky about what you catch. But there is no bag limit on diseases, so go ahead and experiment; catch as many as you wish!

Once you have successfully contracted your intended condition (we’ll still refer to is as “flu,” but you could get lucky and really hit the jackpot!), you’re going to want to share it. Be generous now, and really spread your good cheer among as many people as you can. It’s easy – simply follow the same steps you used in capturing it to begin with. Have close contact with lots of people. Shake their hands and give hugs without reservation. Cough and sneeze openly and often. Touch everything you see. And for goodness sake, don’t wash your hands if you can possibly avoid it.

You may feel lousy, but don’t stay home from work just because you feel sick or have fever, aches, nausea, a nasty cough, etc. Remember, your job is more important than your health or that of your co-workers. Go on in and don’t worry about spraying “flu goo” all over the workplace. There’s plenty of room in the wastebaskets for your used tissues, and besides, you can always wipe your leaky nose on your sleeve if nobody’s watching. Be sure to remember that hydration and nutrition are vital, so make frequent visits to the water cooler and the break room. Hey, you might even bring in a box of doughnuts or cookies to treat your office mates!

Just be sure to touch all the surfaces and the community-use items. And by all means, use the landline telephone if you can. Also, to make your workday a little more comfortable, there are many over-the-counter remedies for your symptoms. Yes, they may have some unfortunate side effects, but that will just make you more entertaining to the people you encounter. Don’t let anything stop you. Show your boss what a devoted worker you are.

Now you have all the knowledge necessary to catch yourself a dinger of a case of flu or whatever, as well as to spread it all around. And there’s still ample time to get it done before this current season winds down – so you don’t even have to wait until next year! Go for it! And always remember, sharing is caring.