Under the Weather by Trevor Plumbly
To be fair to the bloody thing, it did give me a bit of warning – runny nose, headache, sore bones and all the usuals – the day before it decided to kick the door down, so to speak. I was a bit surprised having already had the flu jab and, whilst I didn’t really expect it to repel all boarders, I had hoped that it would at least put up some sort of fight against the bug it was named after. But no! I was informed by my better half who, as ex-nurses are apt to do, delivered an instant and unarguable diagnosis: what I had was another virus, a different strain to the one they’d kitted me out to fight. The thing about viruses is that they’re pretty elusive little sods and they’ve all got the same surname. Previous experience has proved that there’s not much point seeking medical advice: you turn up at the Doc’s feeling like death warmed up, he pokes and prods in a quiet, investigative way (as they do) before sagely pronouncing, ‘You’ve got a virus’. He’s spent about 8 years at medical school to enable him to tell me something I already know and then charges me $50 for the privilege, at the same time as advising me to rest, like I’m going to run a marathon in this condition? Friends will also agree with the Doc’s conclusion and mutter with equal sagacity, ‘There’s a lot of it going round.’
Going round? For God’s sake! Like the Almighty’s up there spinning some sort of gigantic roulette wheel filled with germs and one slot’s got my name on it? Even if that’s right, it’s sod all consolation. But over the years I’ve reached the conclusion that one way to ease discomfort is to blame someone else. The leading suspects are the grandsons: those bloody schools are riddled with all sorts of bacteria, I reckon the kids get used as sort of human Petri dishes to courier the stuff out to infect the rest of us. But no, they’re both in disgustingly good health, so it’s not an inside job. The only other possibility was ‘the Jogger’. Just the other day I was sitting outside ‘Sliders’ on Ponsonby Road, quietly supping a pint when this old geezer (well my age) jogged into sight clad in running shorts and all the gear; he paused by my table, presumably attempting to recover what breath he had left in his body, then sneezed twice; naturally I recoiled but obviously not quick enough. Having infected me, the geriatric poisoner jogged off, presumably with the aim of contaminating the rest of the street. I reckon the real blame for this lies with the rest homes; if these old buggers aren’t 100% tickety-boo they should be placed in isolation with Cliff Richard CDs and Gatorade on tap instead of galloping round the streets spraying mucus.
It Won’t Kill You!
True, but that doesn’t alter the fact that I’ve got it, and I’m sitting here clogged up to the back incisors with someone else’s germs, wondering how to pass the time. I’ve tried the concert programme but they’re doing a sort of omnibus of Wagner; they’ve probably heard I’m ill and are just trying to stick the boot in. Talk back radio offers the usual daily gripe session, ‘MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!’ The day’s topic was, ‘Is it OK to breast feed a baby in public?’ God’s sexual selection process along with old age has sort of divorced my interest in that topic, leaving me the choice between reality TV and total boredom (I chose the latter). As the day progressed, I became increasingly aware of the risk of dehydration and decided to venture out to top up with a beer or two just in case. I’ve already got the bug and there can’t be too many variations floating around unless that old fart’s got a new one to give me. In that case I shall probably club him senseless with his asthma inhaler. If the police press charges, I fully intend to defend them on medical grounds.