How you know when a virus has turned you into a social pariah. 


Just about everyone in my nuclear and extended family has been suffering from THE COLD. Known for excessive sneezing that causes achy ribs and for symptoms that last at least two weeks, this year’s version of THE COLD is greatly to be feared. 

Here’s a checklist of symptoms that will tell you if THE COLD has turned you into some sort of strange, fearsome creature never to be seen in public:

  • You’ve only been awake for an hour and already your inside sleeve of your hoodie is wet from sneezing into it. 
  • Two soup bowl-sized cups of coffee only get you through the first item on your task list for the day.
  • You find yourself playing “beat the nose drip,” a game in which you hurry to get the clean dishes put away before you’re forced to wash your hands again to avoid contamination. 
  • People who insist on talking to you about their own problems cause you to die inside. What the hell is wrong with the rest of the world that they think you care about their issues when you can’t go five seconds without coughing up a lung?
  • Your rescue inhaler, which your doctor specifically told you to use every four hours while you’re sick, visibly shrinks in horror when you reach for it. Slacker. (NOTE: It’s possible this is a figment of my fevered imagination.)
  • Your nose is shredded from constant blowing and your hands are shredded from constant washing, causing you to look like some kind of nightmarish zombie/mummy hybrid. 

A score of three out of the six symptoms should be a warning to hide until you’re fit for human contact. 

Good luck. 

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