Monday, December 12, 2005

Flu Away

After a lost weekend of steak eating, cigar smoking, and gambling with the guys, I stumbled into work in dire need of a some sort of complex detoxification program that would completely replace my bodily fluids and scrub my vital organs until they shone like a newborn baby's ass. In short, I felt just moments away from certain death.

Since cold and flu season is upon us, the firm at which I work had arranged free flu shots for interested employees. Now I normally forego this little ritual since history has shown that - at least where I'm concerned - getting a flu shot pretty much ensures that I get sick. However, as I stumbled towards my office in my usual incoherent pre-coffee haze, I noticed a poster that made me pause. There, in bold black lettering against a bright orange background were three reasons to get a flu shot.

3. Protects Other People
I'm all for occasional acts of altruism, but I wasn't all that convinced by this argument since there are a few people I wouldn't mind making sick. For example, the woman in the office next to me who cackles like a deaf witch at annoyingly regular intervals would be a prime candidate.

2. Prevents Severe Illness
That makes sense. I mean, if you consider the flu a serious illness then a flu shot would seem to be the perfect way to prevent it. Personally, I look at serious illnesses as a great way to get some much needed rest and a few well deserved days off from work.

Thus far, I'd yet to see any compelling evidence for inoculation but all of that changed when I read the final reason.

1. Prevents Death
The longer I looked at it, the more excited I became. Immortality was finally within my grasp! I rushed over to sign up and when the time came I was the first person in line.

"Have you ever gotten a flu shot?" I asked the nurse - an attractive blonde woman into whose deep blue eyes I could gaze for days - but probably wouldn't because there were a bunch of people behind me waiting to get their shots.

"Yes, I have" she replied.

"What's it like?"

"Its nothing, really. You feel a little pinch and the you're done. Some people feel slightly ill for a few hours afterwards, but that goes away pretty quickly."

A small pinch and slight nausea seemed a small price to pay, so I eagerly rolled up my sleeve.

Five seconds later she'd inserted the needle, injected the fluid, and pulled out, leaving me to ponder the similarities between that experience and the way that women generally describe sex with me.

Before I left, I asked the nurse if she'd be interested in going out on a date at some point.

"I'm sorry, I can't. I'm seeing someone" she replied

"Oh, that's okay. I understand."

Disappointed but not surprised, I rolled down my sleeve and started to leave. Suddenly, I had an idea and I walked back over to the nurse.

"Sorry to bother you again, " I said "but has your boyfriend ever gotten a flu shot?"

"No," she replied "he doesn't like needles."

I saw my chance and leapt for it.

"So when he dies, do you think you might reconsider going out with me?"

"WHAT?" she exclaimed.

Realizing that I probably could have phrased that a little better, I gave it another go.

"I mean, he doesn't get the shot so he's mortal. I just thought it made sense for us to stick together know...make little immortal babies and all..."

Her eyes blazed. "What the hell are you talking about?"

As she spoke, she angrily gestured with the needle, causing me to leap back for fear of being jabbed. After all, I know where I've been and believe me, I didn't want to catch anything by being stuck with a needle that had my blood on it.

"The flu shot...the poster..." I babbled...."It says it prevents death!"

"They mean death from the flu, you f*cking idiot."

Now it was my turn to be incredulous. Clearly, this called for an eloquent, rational rebuttal.

"What?" I replied.

"Go read the poster again, moron"

So I did.

Sure enough, there in the fine print underneath "Prevents Death" it said:

"Each year over 20,000 people in the U.S. die because of the flu - most are over 65 years old. More people die from the flu than from any other vaccine-preventable disease"



On a side note, I'd like to offer a heartfelt public apology to Sarah for accidentally calling her 'Sandra' in Lmizzle's comments section. She deserves better. She deserves to have her name shouted from the highest rooftops in all of NYC. She deserves to be spoken of in the hushed, reverential tones reserved for the true geniuses of the world. She deserves better than to have someone make two directly contradictory statements in back to back sentences.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that obviously I'm not all that bright.