Friday, January 25, 2008


On Saturday night a friend walked into Club Abstract with her scarf over her nose. I said "It's cold out, isn't it?" and she shook her head and mumbled a reply. I leaned in close and said "Pardon?" She pulled down her scarf and yelled "No, I've got STREP THROAT!"

This was basically like spraying infected phlegm directly on my tonsils. No amount of recoiling or huffing or puffing would change the fact that I'd gotten a huge whiff of bacteria in my face, and two days later I was down with the flu, exhausted and feverish, missing appointments and neglecting my work.

Lying on the couch, dazed and with all of my immediate responsibilities piling up around me, I imagined what my brains would look like if I were -- just for example -- shot in the head. I figured my brains would be so full of infected gook that they would slowly crawl away from me. This is because I've been watching all those horror movies, and also because I tend to get a bit pessimistic when I'm ill.

I suddenly remembered something my father had told me a long time ago. He said that if everybody would stay isolated for a week, the flu would be eradicated...anybody who had it would manage to kill it, and it wouldn't be able to travel to anybody else. This was quite an awe-inspiring thought when I was younger but not so much now, especially since most flu strains can survive on doorknobs for ninety days (why they hang around on doorknobs I don't know).

So assuming we could all stay isolated for NINETY days...what about people who have medical emergencies during that period? Or the people who work at essential services, maintaining hydro and telephones? What about people who live in one-room apartments with a bunch of children? What about the flu strains that cross species barriers, or strains that mutate naturally while within a host?

No answers there, but this got me wondering about the "flu season" in general, and why we tend to get the flu during the winter time. My mother always said it was because we didn't "bundle up" enough outside, therefore compromising our immune systems. But it turns out that mom isn't always right, and that nobody really knows why the flu travels so well in the winter.

In any case, this will be a weekend for much sleep and for catching up on the things I should have done, and also for mourning the fingernail I broke at the grocery store today. Please, I implore you: go out and do something exciting, and then tell me that you had a terrible time so I won't be jealous.


Anonymous said...

if you have strep why are you going to abstract? beware the typhoid mary straight girl!

Adam Thornton said...

That's a very good question! If I get the flesh-eating disease I'll demand an answer.

tanzi said...

How did you manage to break a nail at the grocery store? Ridiculously tough melons you were squeezing? Wow that make me sound like a perv.

Adam Thornton said...

Really, Tanzi, I never suspected!

Actually I broke it while struggling with the handle of one of those plastic carrying bins. One slip, one broken nail, one small teardrop, an angel cries.

Kimber said...

I was worried - your blog was so strangely empty for the past few days...angels wept indeed!

Adam Thornton said...

I have to admit there's something sort of SATISFYING about seeing the angels cry. It makes me feel important!

Kimber said...

And by the way, I could completely visualize the horrific scene where your friend douses you with death breath. In fact, I think I could even hear sinister back-ground music. Well-written!

Adam Thornton said...

Thanks Kim! Of course, you got to enjoy the experience from the sterile safety of your own home.