Sophie's Choice: Achoo! Bless you

It never fails does it? With all the hustle and bustle of the holi¬days, the parties, the shopping, the get-togethers with friends and families, some form of pestilence isn’t far behind. It lurks in every hug, kiss and handshake, like an insidious in-law who de¬cides to drop in unannounced for the season. Yes, you are a sneaky little virus, Common Cold. And just like a manipulative in-law, you are just annoying enough so that you’re unable to slap a restraining order on. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult has two to four cases of the common cold per year. Children, especially pre¬schoolers, may get a cold as often as six to 10 times a year. Not to sound like too much of a germ-a-phobe, but parents, I’d say now is a good time to bring out those super-sized, clear plastic hamster balls. Perhaps invest in some shrink-wrap jumpers. You’d think that since I am a nurse’s daughter, and I could give Howard Hughes a run for his money considering how often I wash my hands, I could have gotten through the “cootie” season unscathed, but no. Our office here at the S-E is as germy as a kindergarten class. We tend to throw fewer tantrums though. But instead of whining and complaining about how being sick sucks (aren’t I perceptive?), lets look at the positive side. In an expression of gratitude that it’s not something like, say, West Nile Virus, here’s the proverbial bright side about having a head cold. 1.) I’m old enough, but not too old, for the sniffles not to be a se¬rious health problem. Remember when you were sick with a cold as a wee child and your parents would smear Vick’s Vapo Rub on your chest before putting you in your pj's, thus encasing you in a sticky, eucalyptus smelling cocoon comprised of that goop and your onesie? Yeah, glad to be out of that stage myself. Come to think of it, my parents are probably just as happy as I am not to have to do that anymore. Maybe even more so. 2.) The copious amounts of Jewish penicillin you get to con¬sume. Honestly, I don’t know how you can get tired of chicken noodle soup. It’s chicken. In liquid form. With noodles! Lets hear it for stewed fowl! 3.) Here’s one for the customer service representatives out there, particularly you poor holiday sales clerks. You know how you have a cold, and your head feels tighter than Bill O’Reilly’s hair plugs, yet your Scrooge of a boss said you have to come in and work? So you drag your sorry carcass to the retail outlet at which you slave, so medicated that you convince yourself Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is playing everywhere you go. And of course, here comes the super-late, last minute crowd of Christmas shoppers that are so stressed out they perceive that it’s your fault that they are here and can’t find such-and-such an item, because it sold out in November? Well, just wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and let them take their fancy stress bawl with them. What did you think I was going to say, cough on their change? 4.) Now that you’ve got the scratchy voice to go along with it, Im¬press everyone you meet with your Gollum impersonation. We want the Dayquil! 5.) Colds are an excellent excuse to curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch Looney Tunes. Not that you really need one, but hey, any port in the storm. Although I’ve heard the last installment of the Twilight series is really good at decongesting nostrils and inspiring copious amounts of phlegm. 6.) Last, but not least, occasionally having a mild illness reminds us of how lucky we are when we feel good and our body works with us instead of against us. As peculiar as it may sound, having a cold makes me much obliged to be young and mobile. There are plenty of people out there who aren’t so providential. Ah yes, can’t wait to start abusing my healthy body again soon. Breves, anyone?