I like to think of it as sneezing in a ‘time-honored’ manner

I thought for sure I was coming down with a cold this morning. This was a chilling prospect. Not that I necessarily get ‘Man Colds’ ala the wonderful YouTube offering, but what I get is a representation of ‘My Cold’ and my cold is much more important than anyone else’s. Mainly because it’s mine.

I don’t get a lot of colds, and for that I am grateful to God and my brilliant immune system. But, when I do get one I know how it will play out. I’ll start by sneezing my damnfool head off. And then my nose will run. And then it will continue to run and I’ll go through boxes of tissues to stem the flow. You know how it works. I imagine some of you have colds that resemble the uniqueness of mine.

Following that I get my most dreaded manifestation – I plug up. I plug up like concrete. In order to combat that manifestation I must use nasal spray. I can’t use antihistamines because they are evil. To me they are. I have never shot up heroin but the consumption of a lone antihistamine leads me to suspect that must be just what it’s like to crank smack.

Nasal sprays have a drawback, however. They have a charming rebound effect if used for too long, which means I awaken in the middle of the night with a mouth that feels like the Mojave Desert. A few years ago I got me a prescription nasal spray called Fluticasone (which sounds a bit like an item of baroque music – “Hey, Hans, did you hear that new Fluticasone by that Mozart fella?”) which works like a hot damn. It’s a corticosteroid, though it has had no effect on my pecs or (ahem) ‘manhood’ that I’ve noticed. But, it does clear up the nasal passages brilliantly. It costs about $500,000 an ounce, but we have a good medical plan.

But then, when I think it’s over, the most charming manifestation, well, manifests. That’s called ‘post-nasal drip’, which isn’t as icky as it sounds. What PND does is make me cough – and cough, and cough, and cough, after I’ve undergone even the mildest physical exertion. That can last for about three months.

And that brings me to what I feel is the crux of the issue here and that is a situation in which my cold cannot be left in peace by the forces of political correctness. You see, I shield my coughs and sneezes wrong.

I was raised to be polite, and for that area of strictness I am grateful to my parents. And I was taught to cough or sneeze into my hand to avoid the spreading of germs amongst innocent bystanders. It’s a nice touch, even though it’s clinical bullshit.

So, I went all my life thinking I was being a fine fellow at virus time. I thought that a hand sneeze or cough was good enough – but Noooooooo – it’s not good enough. You must cough or sneeze into your elbow. For some reason that’s better – though it’s still bullshit because that’s not how colds are spread.

Well, my point about that is, if I feel a sneeze coming on I don’t really stop and think about it. I go to my default, which is to sneeze into my hand. “You didn’t sneeze into your elbow, you bastard,” I can now imagine some bystander saying as he/she turns away in disgust at my crassness.

It’s that goddamn imposed metric system all over again. Fine for young people, who don’t think in miles, feet or Fahrenheit, to sneeze into the old elbow, but for a buzzard like me, it’s just too much of a challenge to remember.

Maybe I should just stay home and eat chicken soup just in case. On the other hand, the cold doesn’t seem to have quite kicked in yet, so I’ll welcome prayers for my mortal body — oh, and ‘soul’ too, just in case I get a really bad one.




5 responses to “I like to think of it as sneezing in a ‘time-honored’ manner

  1. “Hey, Hans, did you hear that new Fluticasone by that Mozart fella?” LOL! I *so* feel you on this. Great post. Feel better!

    • One word or perhaps it is two NetiPot. And when did the elbow sneeze come into effect? I didn’t get the memo but I too am inept at mastering that new trick. And it plays havoc with the wardrobe…

  2. The elbow sneeze is on all the posters in Costa Rica…didn’t stop me from getting swine ‘flu though.
    You also get little reminders on the bottom of your utility bills about personal hygiene!

  3. Sounds more like allergies to me. As for sneezing I haven’t much done the elbow thing. I’m sort of a Houdini at seemingly grabbing a tissue or napkin from thin air to sneeze into. And at home, I just sneeze across the room. Who’s gonna know?

  4. Personally, I think sneezing into my elbow is gross. I refuse to get snot on my coat or sweater – that’s what tissues are for.

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