Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Hey I’ve just gone viral. In the old sense of the word, that is, with a bad case of what I have dubbed the Florida crud. It started like a nightmare, my throat dipped in kerosene and set afire, my ears serving as blistering passageways where the flames escaped. My bones ached like they’d been stomped a thousand times during the running of the bulls in Pamplona—or at least through downtown Tampa. I coughed and hacked until my insides turned out and I did the unmentionable over the toilet. The only missing element was, no gastric involvement, and so I survived the past several days on bouts of bed rest and ate cough drops as if they were popcorn.
I haunted the aisles of the drugstore, reading the labels on the nostrums as if they were blurbs from hot novels designed to deliver prurient thrills. I finally settled on Advil, and took enough pills that I could, after several days of negative gravity, muster the energy to dial my friend Vi to apologize for not calling her to let he know that I had indeed arrived in beautiful Southwest Florida for the winter only to be felled by some local bug lurking on the underside of the pristine weather.
Guess what? Vi sounded worse than I did. Vi, being Vi, a woman careful to look after her health, had already been to the doctor, who told her there was nothing she could do, would not prescribe an antibiotic. This was a case of the old fashioned viral nasty. The best the doc could offer was to suggest that Vi stock up on some high test cough syrup and tough it out. Vi could return for medical intervention if her cough hung on for more than six weeks. Six weeks?
Vi confessed that she is hiding out from the Centers for Disease Control and I am loath to rat out my friend, so I am not using her real name. Vi is terrified that she’s the CDC hit list, since she was silly enough to attend a seminar, from which she had to excuse herself several times to go out and hack her head off in the hall.
Not the way to go viral these days. This was no hit on the best seller list, where we had had hit the jackpot with a bestseller on Amazon. This was just a wake-up call from the real world where going viral is not at all glamorous, and the old meaning, viral, rears its ugly head and asserts its original meaning with a deadly sting.