Moan, groan, drip, snivel, whine.
No, not sick for having chosen to have children, although that might be a good subject to discuss another day. What I mean is that if you have kids, school-age kids, you are almost certainly sick right now or recovering from being sick.
You see, it’s that biological warfare time of year again. You can go online and get all sorts of great ideas for dodging the bullet, including lists of things you shouldn’t touch in public: doorknobs, keyboards, pens, telephones, shopping carts, faucets, ketchup bottles, etc.. Of course to avoid these things you’ll need to stay home until spring, which may or may not agree with your boss.
You may be shocked to learn that there are actual germ warfare factories in Canada. They are prevalent throughout our great nation, and I’m sorry to break this news, but there’s one in your neighbourhood. Once the factories are fired up each September it’s just a matter of time before their biological weapons system is deployed into an unsuspecting society via small human-like carriers. These carriers have a highly-developed strategical advantage over their adversaries, resulting in a fool-proof delivery system: “I love you!” they say, and then they hug you. They do not release their hold until you are sneezing, aching and coughing.
This establishes that you are, in fact, going to get sick, so the real issue is how you’re going to behave once it happens. A cold infiltrating a Whiner, for example, presents vastly different symptoms than the same cold infiltrating the Stoic.
The Whiner, after the initial sniffle, will be on death’s door in a heartbeat, without enough strength left in his ravaged body to open said death’s door, which is the only reason he doesn’t die. The force of his sneezes flings his dilapidated body around like a rag, and it is a force so violent that you can barely hear his moans, although as soon as he realizes that you’re not getting the full audio effect, the moans become significantly louder. For people living with the Whiner, the most dreaded words heard are, “I have a sore throat” which comes out sounding more like, “I hab a sorrr throad . . .” And sometimes that throat is so gut-wrenchingly painful that he can only shakily point at his throat, as he collapses onto the bed. The Whiner is home for the week, alright, and just to be safe, he will cease all physical activity for the pre-cold period, cold period, and après-cold period. The lingering effects of the cold will last for weeks, possibly months.
The Stoic, on the other hand, is something beautiful to see. There he is, running a 105 degree temperature after being up all night with a severely congested head and chest. His throat is raw, but you won’t know it because he won’t mention it. He pops two pain-killers to manage the ‘mild aches’ he is experiencing, eats a big breakfast and heads out for his morning run. Because he is only feeling 95%, as he puts it, he cuts his ten mile run down to half, at least for the first day. He goes to work, comes home, eats, goes to bed at a normal time. There will be no lingering effects, and after three days he will be at 100% again. In short, he totally wastes any advantage of being sick.
There are many Stoic/Whiner mixed marriages, and they struggle as they try not to kill each other when sick. These relationships can be difficult because the Stoic has no clue as to why the Whiner appears to be suffering with nothing more than a ‘mere cold’. He feigns sympathy, but is secretly thinking, “Just get up and work through it, for pity’s sake,” and the Whiner knows he is thinking this terrible thing. The Whiner, on the other hand, is saddened with the knowledge that he or she is married to a complete idiot who can’t even recognize a cold as a god-given opportunity to lie around and do nothing.
During such stressful times, these couples need a Nurturer. The Nurturer is gold, when she is sick, she has the keep-on-going attitude of the Stoic, yet she has deep empathy for the Whiner and will give them chicken soup, stuff like that. She will make the Stoic feel like a hero by saying things like, “Oh you mustn’t go out when you’re sick, dear!” (the Whiner, on the other hand, would encourage the Stoic to go out because the Whiner needs ice-cream). The Nurturer is none other that your dear old mum, of course, unless your dear old mum is Jo Slade, in which case all bets are off and you should probably just get dressed and go get that ice-cream. I hab a sorrr throad.