Eeverything seems to be going faster today. This is probably because I am slowing down but trying to keep up with today’s dynamic society takes a lot of energy.

This is true in all aspects of our society. Between the lightning fast Internet connections, cell phones connected on everyone’s ears, and even instantaneous news that seems to get reported before the news takes place I am not sure if I am living in my own present. The other day another part of life sped up faster than I ever though possible. This is a part of life I thought I wouldn’t mind speeding up a bit. I am talking about the annual bout with the winter flu. For the past ten or so years I have been trying to beat it down with a flu shot.

Everyone tells me the shot is not fool proof because the virus is perpetually changing. I then ask why I should bother getting the shot. I am told if I don’t I will get the specific flu the shot is trying to protect me from and without the inoculation this specific flu can make my life miserable. But, I always ask about the other flu’s the shot can’t protect me from. I am told they will soon come up with a vaccine for those. Needless to say every time I leave the clinic where I get my annual shot I feel like I just left a place where they sell bridges.

The other day I had a doctor’s appointment. My wife has this odd concept the more I take care of myself and go to the doctor the longer I will live. Of course, this necessitates giving gallons of blood, getting probed in places that shouldn’t be probed, and having to rush through the day so I am not late for an appointment I really don’t want to make. Sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine about a sport I never wanted to read about, heck, I don’t even know what it is. I looked around the office and saw people whom I believed really needed to see a doctor. Most were either a lot older than I or many years younger.

The older ones basically stared at me. I tried to smile back but in reality I knew what they were thinking. They thought I would be called first because I actually had an appointment. Even though I really didn’t need to be there I stood in their way of seeing their doctor for the third time this week. The younger ones were either with their mothers or sitting in the corner of the room where all the toys were located. They had some interesting ones which looked more like computers and robots than toys. They quietly played not realizing soon some strange man would be pushing a sharp spear deep into their arms. The mothers, whom like me, did not want to be there but would have rather been planted in front of television learning about the world through the eyes of Oprah.

I was right. The nurse stuck her head around the corner and called my name. I swear one of the old people pushed his stick near my foot hoping I would fall and thus need an ambulance instead of a simple visit to the doctor. I hopped over the rod, sneered at the older gentleman rubbing in he was still holding a copy of a magazine that had the name of its owner cut out. I’ve always wondered why they do that.

Sitting in the little white waiting-room waiting for the doctor to see me an assistant asked me the same questions she asked me over the past decade or so. Little has changed with the exception of my weight and amount of hair on my head. The primary reason I was there was because my belly button decided to pop out for the first time since I discovered it in the middle of my stomach. I assumed my ‘innie’ finally evolved into an ‘outie’. Since I never heard of this type of evolution I thought it best to check with my doctor.

Looking around the small room at nothing because it had nothing to look at my stomach became a bit queasy. By the time my doctor arrived the queasiness grew into a full fledged acidic explosion. The doctor took two steps toward me and one step back. The color of my skin and the thick coating of sweat must have alarmed him a bit. After he asked what the problem was I told him I must have been attacked by some terrorist group who just discovered a new form of painful instantaneous death? Within seconds I streaked into his bathroom at which time I serenaded his entire office. All I could think of was the old man who tried to trip me smiling for the first time since his first divorce.

Limping out of the bathroom and back into the examining room I could see the doctor writing a prescription I found out later he had written many times that day. I guess a new form of flu was sweeping through the area. Forgetting about my belly button because I now feared for my entire body nausea once again swept through my loins. Again I ran into the bathroom this time serenading the entire building if not block. I have never been known for my quiet dry-heaves. All I could think about driving home was my bed. I would have been happy with the door mat in my garage if it let me place my head on the same plane as my feet. What surprised me most was my wife was attacked by the same speedy virus that now lived within me. As to how I gave it to her is above and beyond my comprehension but I knew very well it had to be my fault.

For the next 12 hours we serenaded each other with gastro-intestinal symphonies. The next morning I heard her scream out from the other room begging for something to drink. We never made it into the same room the day before. This was probably a good thing. She begged me to go to the store to get juice. At the time I was begging for death. Since she gave birth to my daughter I felt obligated to do what she asked me to do. I picked what was left of my head from the bed, put on some sweat pants and sweat shirt, found my sneakers, and off to the store I drove. I knew the concept of putting on socks was simply impossible.

At the store I found 6 gallons of Gator-Aide, 4 bottles of ginger ale, and 8 boxes of popsicles. Needless to say the check out girl rang out my order with one hand while holding a handkerchief in the other. A few days later after my niece saw what I had purchased she asked if a drug addict had moved in with us. Making it home I thought it was the best $35.00 I ever spent.

The beauty of this flu is it left as fast as it arrived. Within 24 hours I was able to once again function even though I was 6 ½ lbs. lighter. Everything seems to be going faster today. This is probably because I am slowing down but trying to keep up with today’s dynamic society takes a lot of energy: energy I have yet to find since this newest of viral experiences.

The End.
Even our flu’s are faster today.
By J. G. Fabiano
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine, USA
e-mail him at:

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