I don't know of anyone who wouldn't rather have a good back hair wax than the flu.
We've been hit in our house with not a shot of the flu but a volley of it. Started with reports of food poisoning and moved speedily (at last count) to over a dozen members of our family and friends. While I have had the time for the past two days to lay around the house and do absolutely nothing, other than confirm that daytime TV totally sucks, I did reflect on the various stages of the flu along with some personal observations.
- Stage I - Complacency ~ This is the stage of pure euphoria that you have prior to getting the flu. It's basically your life. Complacency, at least for a guy, has many components; forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom, drinking your milk straight from the carton, wearing the same pair of jeans for a week, drying with the same towel for a month, eating a protein rich diet. But you did get your annual flu shot.
- Stage II – Hints of Things to Come ~ In our case it was just a comment about how someone was sick "the other day" from "food poisoning". We all thought about how horrible he must have felt. Food poisoning, what a way to go. The CDC will soon be on the job.
- Stage III – It's in the House ~ The problem with smart people is that they don't put puzzles together very well. Morning comes and one of the baby's in the house for the holidays has thrown-up. No let's just say it, PUKED during the night. But nothing major, it's part of having babies, they puke in the night at random times. And on unsuspecting family.
- Stage IV – This Parties Not Big Enough ~ Let's admit it, if you're going to get a lot of people sick you need a lot of people. Have a family dinner, invite all of your children and their children. Make sure that there is a lot of love going around, kiss that baby, let them eat off your plate, share a fishy kiss, hug and kiss everyone, within reason. And don't forget to go to the store and infect the masses, why should your family have all the fun?
- Stage V – The Watson Stage ~ Sherlock Holmes would put the puzzle together and exclaim, "I've got it Watson" or something intelligent. The Watson Stage is where Sherlock would have already put it together and minimized the impact. We're more like Watson, we still haven't connected the dots. At church we get notice of our fallen comrades, grandpa, two sons, one son-in-law. All sick and unable to attend. Let's see, 1+1+2+1 equals we're dumb as dirt.
- Stage VI – Spreading the Joy ~ Another family gathering, more hugs, loves, kisses, kids eating other kids food, adults sharing food with kids. It's an epidemic in hibernation.
- Stage VII – Joy in Mudville ~ If you are the host of the party it's the highlight of the night when the party is over. It took hours but finally, everyone returned to their own homes. And we three settled down for a long winter night. Who knew?
- Stage VIII – Say Hello to My Little Friend ~ It hit the wife first. She comes downstairs with a bowl in her hand, I thought that making cookies this late was a little quirky but HEY, I'm not arguing with fresh baked cookies. She announces that she is puking and that as an added gift this particular strain of the flu is choosing two external paths to wreak its havoc upon her body. I'm a guy so the fact that she is going to sleep in the guest room means I'll still be rested for work in the morning. I did offer to go to the store and buy 7-Up and Saltine crackers but was politely turned down.
- Stage IX – My Eyes Are Open Now ~ By 11:15pm the cloud of death hanging over my house woke me up and told me it was my time to visit the bathroom. The victim of Stage VIII had politely asked me to use the downstairs bathroom and I relocated myself in a somewhat hurried manner to that room. I will admit that I now fully realized what was about to happen. It's like knowing the end of a murder mystery long before anyone else does. No matter how much you try to create an alternate ending in your head it doesn't change the outcome. I realized that the wife and I were both down. In retrospect I don't know if popping my head into my son's room and telling him that his mother and I were sick was just in case he had compassion or a forewarning. What I do know is that a half hour later I could hear him making noises in his room that sounded like the tune I'd been singing earlier. It was now official, this was a serial flu bug.
- Stage X – The Negotiation ~ Now everyone in our house has the flu. Weakness had begun to set in and I was beginning to make deals with the big man upstairs. They say that there are no atheists in foxholes. I can tell you that there aren't any atheists with the flu either. The whole time you are kneeling down and praying to the porcelain prince you are also promising to do things that you would never do in your right mind. I promised him that I would pray more often, be nicer to my family, start eating right, watch Oprah, actually listen to my wife, finish projects around the house and lose the weight that I need to lose. I also personally committed to ending world hunger, find a cure for cancer and quit shooting, in the butt (with an air-soft gun), the defenseless squirrel that continues to live in my porch roof despite my efforts to evict him. My ace was to become friends with my wife's ex-husband but I'm saving that prayer for when or if my wife wants me to go to the opera with her.
- Stage XI – The Aftermath ~ This is a strange period of time. I remember calling my boss and telling him I wouldn't be at work. That's about it. The Aftermath is a good time. During the Aftermath you aren't puking, not eating, and drinking water is to a minimum. Having the flu is like being a leper. You only have to tell one person and your social calendar frees up completely. No visitor's also means no one is going to see your messy house, therefore, no cleaning. Also, no dishwasher running, no washer/dryer in use, no vacuuming, and no showers. If you don't take a shower you're not changing clothes, underwear, brushing your hair, etc. You have little contact with society and know what it's like to be a zombie. You sleep away most of your day and nothing, and I mean nothing. You're entire life is based on your proximity to the bathroom. We got to the point where my son called me on his cell phone to ask if we had juice in the fridge. HE WAS UPSTAIRS! And closer to the fridge. But slowly, over a 48-hour period, we all have started to make a comeback. Which leads to:
- Stage XII – Complacency ~ This is the stage of pure euphoria that you have after you've survived the flu. This is where you go back to all of your bad habits that you promised God you would leave behind. It's basically your life; forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom, drinking your milk straight from the carton, wearing the same pair of jeans for a week, drying with the same towel for a month, eating a protein rich diet.
And, remembering that you got your annual flu shot.