It’s winter in the antipodes and of course with every change of season come the colds and flu. Australians are notorious for getting a head cold then taking a week off for mistakenly calling it the ‘flu’. This behaviour is commonly called 'taking a sickkie' and doesn't require a particularly severe illness. In my day, (indulge me it’s PMT week), the flu meant ‘influenza’. You were wracked with joint pain, your temperature gave you the shakes, sometimes you were nauseous and simply not fit for anything other than sleep, fluids and vegemite soldier boys. Fortunately, there are vaccines you can have a few months before the onset of flu season which are about 95% successful in preventing the onset of influenza. Our company actually pays for staff to have the vaccine and we have about a 50% take up. Trouble is, the flu vaccine doesn’t prevent the common cold, the snots, the drivel and the snivel and the accompanying patheticism of the male workforce.
As a consequence of the inability to cure or even stem the onset of a common cold, I am currently surrounded by a couple of men who besides behaving like three year old bears with sore heads, are downing Codral and flu medications more enthusiastically than a 95 year old scoffs viagra.
There are a couple of universal symptoms suffered by the ‘head cold’ afflicted male.
The slightly backward head tilt and impeded speech. This happens when you ask someone how they are feeling (a question that should not be asked at this time – you will ALWAYS get more than you bargained for). The head tilts back slightly to the side and the mouth refuses to open properly as they lament “Ive god a code id the doze” . . .or worse “Oh Ibe fide . . splashCHOOOO!” *spittle goes everywhere* . It’s a known fact that men cannot sneeze quietly into their hands or tissues. It has to be at about level 11 and audible through lead walls and spattered against the office glass.
The slump shoulder snot walk. This means that when upright, we have to have our chin slightly rested on our chest, shoulders slumped and enough shuffle of the feet to generate static electricity so that you zap everyone who’s hand you shake with your snot infected germ palms.
The “nobody is taking any notice of my illness” sigh. This is different to the exasperation or sympathy sigh, it’s a heavily heaved chest and a strong exhale that irritates the throat and forces a cough. Not a really productive cough but one of those pathetic “kha . .kha . . . " kinda coughs that lets you know he’s feeling a little bit poorly.
The cold afflicted female either takes the day off work, and recouperates through the nourishment through healthy fluid imbibement (or in my case a hot toddy), panadol and rest, or ensures that her spittle is reduced to a confined area. She ensures her germs are produced into a tissue and hygeinically disposed of rather than forced into a disgusting cloth handkerchief and reinserted into an equally snotty trouser pocket or blasted like particles of a supa nova into the air conditioning system.
And . . even if we attempted to be as pathetic as the mere males in our lives, we would be given no sympathy, no quarter. There would still be dishes to wash, kids to feed, washing to be done, meals to be prepared. . .no lounging on the couch with the remote control for us!
Just remember, if you cry wolf and claim your cold is the flu, you won’t be believed when you really have an ailment, so save me from your bloody whingeing. Go home and take your self-serving suffering and your filthy virus with you!