Remember how, in the board game Life, there was a little card that said something to the effect of “Discover a cure for the common cold! Plus fifty thousand dollars!”? Well, WHY HASN’T ANYONE DONE THIS YET? As a grown-up (ish), I know: viruses mutate, etc. etc. etc. But as a child, which is basically what the common cold reduces me to, my tendency isn’t to suck it up and be stoic and reasonable about it; no, it’s to harp frustratedly at scientists (who fortunately can’t hear me, but while I’m at it: how’s that teleporter coming, hmmm?)
It did not really help to learn that Heather B. Armstrong, a.k.a. Dooce, is also suffering from this all-too-common plague. It never does, really, which brings me to another point: the conversational tic of, “If it makes you feel any better…[insert similar experience here].” I suppose in a schadenfreude way, it might make some people happy to know that others are suffering along with them, but…no, it doesn’t really make me feel better. (“Everything is not okay.”) Though apparently, when I was really young and was sick or got hurt or had to undergo some unpleasant experience like getting a shot at the doctor’s office, I would ask, “Why couldn’t this be happening to someone else?” Now I just wish it wasn’t happening to any of us. Or that we hadn’t domesticated pigs in the first place.
(Huh. I was under the impression that the common cold virus originated from the domestication of pigs, and I’ve been holding on to this notion since high school history class, but a quick and not-at-all thorough search of the internet does not seem to support this. Oh well.)
Anyway, I was thinking recently about the correlation between sickness and sociability. When I’m baseline healthy, I’m happy to be around other people. When I’m really sick – strep, pneumonia, flu, etc. – I also want someone around, though I wouldn’t call this sociability, exactly – more along the lines of “I want my mommy!” However, when I have a cold, I feel lousy, and I don’t want to be around people – partly because I don’t want to get anyone else sick, partly because I’m inclined to whine (which is boring), and partly because I am self-conscious about all the sneezing/coughing/nose-blowing noises and general attendant disgustingness that comes with being sick. I don’t want to inflict those miserable sounds on anyone, so I’d rather just hole up with my tea and soup and tissues and wait till it’s over. (Hats off to those who can just soldier on whilst constantly sneezing and coughing, and operate normally instead of being all pathetic and daydreaming about when they can nap next, and also how they are going to go back in time and dissuade the person who first domesticated pigs from doing so. Which brings us back to: YO SCIENTISTS, ANY PROGRESS ON THAT (time-traveling) TELEPORTER YET?).
A more mathematically inclined person might draw a neat little graph to reflect all this, but I tried, and it didn’t turn out well. Also, I wrote most of this before a minor case of food poisoning (?) struck, so I haven’t had a lot of sleep the past two nights. Third time’s the charm?