Winter is recognized for many things: snow, cold, hazardous driving, sledding, skiing, shoveling, plowing, getting plowed, scraping windows, building a snowman, and many others too numerous to mention.
Except for one notable exception.
And, if I may, I’ll begin with a quick analogy. You’re all familiar with the way certain holidays are referred to as “Hallmark” holidays: “Sweetest Day”; “Secretary’s Day”; “Bosses Day”; “My life Seems to be Spinning out-of-Control Day.” All created to sell greeting cards, chocolate, flowers, dinners out, anti-depressants and alcohol, etc. Quite contrived, actually. And yet, these “Holidays” generate billions in sales.
So… Having watched this for many years with envy, the pharmaceutical Industry finally got smart and created their own time-specific cash cow. Beginning in September and continuing through April, winter produces a very predictable and effective phenomenon. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:
The Cold and Flu Season.
That’s right. A geographical celebration of everyone’s Constitutional right to become ill. Need documentation? Walk into any drug store, grocery HBA section, pick up a magazine, watch television, listen to the radio, drive past any Walgreen’s and it’s right there:
The Cold and Flu Season.
And it all sounds so definite, you want to visit your pharmacist and buy a “Cold License” which allows you to catch a cold anytime between October 1 and April 31. If you also want the flu, then you’ll need to buy a special “Flu Permit” or “Flu Stamp” for a slightly additional fee.
When confronted with The Cold and Flu Season, people tend to react --inwardly -- in a variety of ways:
“I haven’t had a cold or the flu in years, and I’m not starting now.”
“I get sick every year. Just a matter of when.”
“I’d better pick up a few items so I’ll be ready if the kids get sick.”
“With the kids at school all day and riding the bus, they don’t stand a chance of staying healthy all winter.”
“Shit! I would’ve completely forgotten about The Cold and Flu Season! Thanks, Walgreens! You’re the best!”
Outwardly, however, the afflicted of our society tend to keep others alerted to every step in the process.
Early on, it’s:
“I feel achey all over.”
“I’m hoping it’s just an allergy.”
“I know I look peaked.”
“Oh, boy. I’m getting a cold. I could feel myself coming down with it yesterday.”
“My throat is all sore and scratchy.”
“Why can’t they make a “Late-afternoonQuil?” They do. It’s called booze.
Then, after a few days of suffering:
“I’ve really got the trots. I wouldn’t use that bathroom for at least another week or so. I’ll let you know.” Thanks.
“Would you buy me some of those cold pills they use to make meth?”
“Man, have I got the sniffles. They are so annoying.” No kidding.
“I’ve got a bad cold. This year I had really hoped for a good cold. Oh, well… Maybe next year.”
“Even though I’m an accountant, I probably shouldn’t operate heavy machinery.”
“Watery eyes. Scratchy throat. Runny nose.” Hey, don’t leave out “Pain-in-the-butt.”
Finally, with the end in sight, we’re treated to:
“I’m better, but not 100% yet.”
“I’d love to go back to work, but why spread my germs to all of them?”
“I must be getting better. I’m coughing up a ton of phloegm.” Well, there you go.
“I probably should get dressed and try doing something ‘til I get too tired.”
There are a number of preventive techniques people use to avoid catching a cold or the flu. Washing their hands frequently. Getting plenty of rest. Taking vitamins. Avoiding large, open areas crowded with people. Dressing properly.
Speaking of that. Have you noticed how some people – most notably, men – will go out in the coldest weather wearing a T-shirt? No coat, gloves, hat, boots. Shirts you’d wear if it were 80 degress instead of ten. Do they really feel that makes them appear tough and macho? That is not macho. Want proof? Stop him and ask where Mr. Wiggly is right now. I guarantee you Mr. Wiggly is hibernating somewhere between his liver and kidneys. And chances are, you won’t see him again ‘til spring. Those are the only brains in that outfit.
How about that?