The Unforgiving Grasp of Flu Season

A 'Bird Flu'The flu is a touchy subject.  After all, many people die from the various flus every week, so a joke like, “The only people who actually die from the flu are the news reporters sent into flu-infested towns to capture some riveting footage of soup boiling,” might be in bad taste, because you need to remember that the person in need of soup might actually die from the flu as well.  Not to mention the chicken that was ruthlessly decapitated and mercilessly boiled to make that soup.

But before I progress to the point where I propose all soup jokes be banned, ever, especially the “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” “OH NO! DON’T EAT IT, IT’S OUR CHEF!”, I want to talk a little about flu season as it pertains to schools (read: I am sick enough that I couldn’t come up with anything else to talk about save the pattern on my tissue box).

When you’re at school, you know the flu is coming because your school administration will start placing cryptic messages all over the school, such as the difficult to decode: “It’s flu season.  Wash your hands.” If you’re a chimney sweep, you’ll also know the flu is coming, but that’s just a bad joke (heck, soup jokes are better).

Another indicator is that during those few moments of silence in class between the time when your teacher is pulling back the poison-laced meter stick and the time of the fading screams of your fellow classmates, the rest of the class will be going *cough*, *achoo*, or *darn it, why does Microsoft word like to autocorrect the stuff in asterisks to bold?!*

There are exactly 0 things you can do to avoid getting sick, scientifically.  However, since this is a serious matter, I think that you should consider the things you could do to avoid getting sick, from-the-mountains-of-rural-cultures-ally.

For instance, the legend goes that if you climb to the tallest peak within x number of miles, x being the distance an object thrown with an initial velocity of twenty feet/second from a height of five feet will travel, and then dance the hokey pokey, you will have proven you paid attention in math class (also you will have proven that you still know “that’s what it’s all about (hey)”).  I’m not sure how this helps avoid getting sick, aside from the fact that when you show up to math the next day still dancing, it is likely that no one dares get close enough to sneeze on you.

Since you can’t avoid catching whatever flu is going around at your school, you should try to educate yourself about the possible symptoms, so you can tell your teachers, “No, I was actually sick this time.”  Experiencing a runny nose is natural.  So is a sore throat and/or headache.  Also natural is a want to throw something at the models in the pharmaceutical product commercials on TV, because whatever they’ve got, it’s not as bad as what you have.  You should see a doctor if you experience a runny head.

Another good thing to know about the flu is what the flu of the year is.  You can discover this by watching the news or digging out that baby toy you had, with the spinner that randomly selected a farm animal, and seeing where the spinner lands.  Previously we’ve had the bird and swine flu, so I’d be on the lookout this year for flus such as the mule flu, the African elephant flu (“dude, you sneeze like an elephant” was the process of scientific naming), or the I-don’t-have-time-to-say-the-name-of-this-animal-before-I-die-of-ack! Flu (the Black-crowned Central American Squirrel Monkey flu).

When you finally recover (or die, in which case, I hope you are not offended by me making fun of the flu) you can return to school.  That day, and I promise, the same day you return to school, you will find out that the flu shots clinic is the first of next month, so make sure you get your forms in.  At which point, it is acceptable to wonder: do dead chickens go into the vaccine? (The answer is, yes, kind of, but that’s a story for another day.)

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