When you venture out and about this holiday shopping season you can pick up all kinds of things. In my case, I picked up the flu bug. Or maybe it's just some associated crud. Regardless of the medical name attached to this malady, it stinks!
For the life of me I can't imagine why this holiday bug picked me as a victim. I skipped the annual flu shot this year, I have lousy eating habits, I still smoke far too much, I manage limited sleep and did I mention, I still smoke too much.
Now here's the real kicker. I met this pesky holiday bug on Saturday, my birthday. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
Being the inquisitive type, I am trying to backtrack and determine the exact moment that Mr. Flu Bug and I first met. I was in St. Louis on Thanksgiving and managed some sweet time with my granddaughters. Those hugs and kisses are always so very special. It mattered not that I would later learn that my 3-year-old granddaughter had a free day on Wednesday because her entire pre-school class had been cancelled because of illness. That should have been clue number one.
While driving back from St. Louis I made an obligatory visit to a White Castle top quality restaurant and shortly thereafter made a hasty non-scheduled emergency visit to a rest stop. That should have been clue number two.
But on I trudged through the weekend acting as if nothing was wrong. It was no coincidence that all food tasted bland and it seemed that every room was overheated. I chalked that up to birthday excitement or global warming.
By Sunday, it was obvious that something was amiss in my pre-Social Security body. So off I went to the local drug store. From what I am now learning, apparently lots of people kissed flu-infested grandkids and visited top quality restaurants. I'm told the drug stores are not experiencing the downturn in the economy when it comes to flu-related medications.
Upon entering said local drug store, I was instantly struck by the holiday magic of a counter full of Barack Obama holiday T-shirts just in time for Christmas cheer. I can't recall the Bush T-shirts from four or eight years ago but at my age, the memory goes rapidly. I paused to consider the T-shirts for a brief moment. Truth is, I could write an entire column on my thoughts of those shirts but that will have to wait for another day.
There is no shortage of medications designed to rid you of this seasonal scourge as I quickly learned at my friendly pharmacy. I was looking for the variety that would cure you when you hurt from your hair follicles to your toenails. I did not find that exact description on the labels but I came close. And hooray, it was cherry flavored.
So here I sit, deep in the recesses of a newspaper office, hiding from co-workers for fear of spreading this holiday joy. I look exactly how I feel. Just take my word for it.
Actually I have been pretty lucky when it comes to this magical health season of the year. In past years, I have successfully managed to avoid the bug while friends, family and co-workers all walked around like sickly zombies. I knew deep inside that it was my healthy lifestyle combination of sleep deprivation, tobacco and Pepsi that keep me immune. Well, that combination failed me miserably this year and now I pay the price.
I can offer scant advice on how to avoid this misery. Maybe avoiding the holiday throngs would help, maybe checking on the well-being of grandkids before lavishing them with kisses or maybe, reconsider that flu shot. But one final suggestion is in order. When you finish reading this column, immediately wash your hands. It may not help but it surely won't hurt.