The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Influenza in die Mensa: livin’ the dream with Swine Flu

When students return from Fall Break there is always a lot of excitement in the air. “What did you do?” and “where did you go?” are popular exchanges for the first 36 hours before the tedious normalcy of stress and responsibility settles back in for keeps. But unfortunately, not all of us can attest to having graciously spent many a work hour rebuilding a sunken city or freeing the planet one justly picked organically grown vegetable at a time. Why not? Because some of us may have had the friggin’ Swine Flu.

There is a whole hullabaloo about symptoms and signs that mean you, too, may have the dreaded H1N1 that scared the globe some months back with the threat of an imminent pandemic. But here we are in the thick of coughing and sneezing, and there isn’t much left of that “28 Days Later” zombie virus kind of vibe. However, that isn’t to suggest that being sick doesn’t provide a major buzzkill to one’s plans, especially those vacation plans. Whether it’s getting a head start on that epic seminar paper or just doing some cheeky autumn-themed outdoor activity, being dizzy, coughy and achy can all be a serious cramp in one’s style.

But does being sick mean that we have to give up on trying to “live the dream”? Not necessarily, at least not without putting up a fight. For example, when else would I have had the opportunity to spend almost 40 hours on my ass watching TV and movies with only a moderate sense of guilt? Without the inconvenient proverbial clam-snatch of a fever and chills, how else could one justify cycling through a routine of eating chicken noodle soup, then watching Star Wars, then taking a two hour nap—multiple times a day?

Granted, intellectuals of the past may have used colds and congestion as an opportunity to be inside working out the metaphysical dilemmas facing 16th century France. But in this day and age of technological comfort, I don’t think I’m alone in privileging the life of leisure as the ideal vector for getting over one’s ailments. When you’ve got those not-so-fun feelings of failure and fatigue after climbing one flight of stairs, maybe you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Obviously, it is problematic for me to try to publicly justify my own lazy-ass shenanigans in some sort of editorial confession booth. “That’s not living the dream, that’s being a worthless piece of [explicative]” one might say, or “how politically irresponsible!” from another. But hey, man, look. Some people are wimps when it comes to being sick, myself wholeheartedly included. But rather than whine and pine about what Fall Break should, could or would have been, why not just take a minute to chill, sit back and let an illness run its course? Getting my Hanes all jumbled wouldn’t have amounted to much more than inconveniencing my friends with yet another failed attempt at inappropriately trying to “will to power.” Maybe re-watching the first and only season of “Freaks and Geeks” without showering for five days erred on the side of self-indulgent, but I’m not so sure how productive it is to feel guilty for the way we spend our time when we’re “too pooped to pop.” Being sick sucks for most people, and sometimes you just want to veg. So take your ibuprofen, pop in a movie and sit the eff out of this inning, slugger. Once we’re back to feelin’ tip-top, we’ll rock and maybe then we’ll be living the dream.

Not satisfied? Deal with it.

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