I’ll trade you my virus for your bacterial infection

My son is finishing up his two-week spring break from preschool. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why preschoolers needed a two-week spring break. Is preschool so stressful that it takes two weeks to recover from the wear and tear of the 10 weeks gone by since the month-long winter break? Do the children need two weeks to recruit their strength for that last big push toward preschool final exams?

I think I may have finally figured it out.

I think it will take a good two weeks to air out the building and rid it of kiddie germs after the winter of plague we’ve had.

This winter has been the most disease-infested season I can recall. I’ve worn dried baby snot on my shoulder since November. In that time, my family has contributed our quota of snot for the next five years. Fortunately, the baby was the only one who regularly decorated my shirts with it.

I used to be a pretty healthy guy. But that was back when I used to get enough sleep, have time for hobbies, and earn enough money to make ends meet. In other words, that was before I had little people painting snot art on my shirts.

Back then I only had to deal with adult germs. Adult germs are child’s play. Adult germs visit for a day, give you an excuse to call in sick, then pack up their sniffles and move along. Kids’ germs gang up on you. They drag you down, bind and gag you, and use your head and a frying pan as cymbals. Kids’ germs can be cruel.

And preschool is a veritable stock exchange of kids’ germs. My boy must be a pretty good trader, because he was always bringing home a new and exciting strain of something, purchased at only the cost of an old, used-up bug that we had already wrung dry of puke and mucus. We’re so proud of him.

attack on marine hospital

Even in the olden days, people just could not get enough of those addictive walk-in clinic fumes. Here, crowds jockey for position to get a whiff of some coveted quarantine effluvium.

At the worst of the epidemic, we could not get in to see our family doctor. We had to go to the walk-in clinic, which is the perfect place to go if you want to sample any of the diseases your family doesn’t already have. If you ever have a burning desire to wallow in the midst of contagion, spend a few hours in this waiting room. You’ll know what germ-laden miasma tastes like.

We waited out in the hall. The air was cold there, but at least we couldn’t see it.

For months, all we heard about was what a bad flu season it was. I don’t know anything about that. I do know that it was a bad season for pharyngitis, ear infections, strep throat, strep tongue, strep teeth, a mystery virus that probably wasn’t mononucleosis after all, and a host of other anonymous bugs. The one illness we did not contract, in the midst of this epic flu season, was the flu. I guess we’re just lucky like that.

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4 comments on “I’ll trade you my virus for your bacterial infection

  1. Traci says:

    Kids are walking Petri dishes. Even my teenagers still sneeze on their papers and then hand them to me. Of course, this may be their way of sticking it to me for making them write an essay to begin with . . .

  2. Even reading about kids and germs has me reaching for the hand sanitizer. I am glad my days of holding the kleenex while the kids blow are over.

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