OK, we all know why winter is so wicked — snow, ice, cold and the People’s Choice Awards.
But the nastiest byproduct of winter is illness.
There are only three kinds of people this year — people who were sick, people who are sick and people who are going to be sick.
Indeed, our health this time of year is a compromised pin cushion — an inviting target for all sorts of malicious germs shrieking with laughter as they torment us.
We’re talking the common cold, which is uncommonly aggravating.
We’re talking flu (even if you got a flu shot).
We’re talking bronchitis.
We’re talking pneumonia.
We’re talking stomach flu.
We’re talking upper respiratory tract infections that attack the nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx and commonly include tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis and otitis media (not be confused with traditional and social media).
We’re essentially defenseless, even though they say we should wash our hands and drink plenty of liquids to bolster our immune system.
So we wind up with hands drier than toast and more cracked than the Liberty Bell. So we drench our hands with moisturizing creams and then nobody can open a door knob.
And we drink so many liquids we spend most of the winter running to the bathroom, which can be a veritable petri dish of germs.
For what? We get sick anyway. It’s as inevitable as the sunrise.
All the aforementioned respiratory illnesses reduce us to a quivering, disgusting mess.
Phlegm and mucous are flying everywhere, our lungs are more congested than the Warren Street Bypass at rush hour, we bellow gut-wrenching coughing spasms that sound like the hounds escaping from the dungeons of hell, our sore throats feel like we gargled with battery acid after swallowing barbed wire, and our noses resemble spigots with a shot rubber.
Of course, if the infection we have is viral, the doctor just says tough noogies or something to that effect — even though we swear we are dying.
If it is a bacterial infection, we then can take a whole medley of antibiotics and cross our fingers that some Super Bug coming around the corner next week doesn’t render them obsolete.
When we are sick, we are told to stay home and rest.
And slow the wheels of industry?
Suppose you do bivouac in your basement and a major water pipe bursts, forcing you to suddenly tread water?
And suppose when you call your plumber, you are told that he called in sick?
Would Donald Trump call in sick on Inauguration Day? Hardly, although they are some among us who wish he did.
The best thing to do when you are sick is to maintain your daily schedule but carry plenty of Kleenex boxes, never shake hands, suck on cough drops, wear a surgical mask and gloves, and pray fervently to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, that you don’t sneeze or cough.
And don’t be self-conscious. The people you encounter likely are as sick as you.
So follow the Germ Golden Rule: Do unto others as they do unto you.