We are definitely into fall here in Siberia With a View and once the colorful leaves drop from the trees, we can be sure that cold and flu season is just around the corner.
Though I was raised by a physician, until fairly recently I was sure disease was a sign of spiritual weakness, the work of hostile antagonists who possessed powerful mojo and used it in pointed, evil fashion. When I was young, my dad was always off making house calls; he never really explained things to me. I figured you insult someone, they fly into a rage and make a call to a swarthy, wizened woman with a bandana tied around her head. The woman throws some bones against the wall, tortures a cat, obtains samples of your blood and hair and, bingo, you’ve got the flu.
It made a lot of sense, given I skipped class the day they discussed bacteria and viruses.
Then, a year or two ago, I read a book.
Can you believe it? Things like colds and the flu are caused by teensy little things that invade your body and do their nasty work in your bloodstream and internal organs. Who woulda thought? Teensy little things!
This is so insidious, there has to be a conspiracy of some sort behind it.
And there is. I have it on good authority that corrupt scientists hide in labs beneath Archuleta Mesa and at government facilities around the nation and manufacture and train teensy little things like bacteria and viruses to do their vile bidding. I am relieved, however, to know disease is not caused by incantations, scented candles and pins stuck in the body of dolls, but this is still serious business.
Regardless of the agenda of their masters, the teensy little things that cause colds and flu are sure to multiply in our community in the next few weeks at a rate my retarded mathematical ability does not allow me to accurately describe. According to a health department flyer, you get twelve of the teensy little critters together in your body — say for a viral fraternity party — things get out of hand, there’s loud music, indulgence in all manner of intoxicants and a lot of untoward behavior, and the next morning you’ve got 44 zillion of the rascals running amok in your lungs.
Bottom line: There’s not a lot you can do at this point; you need to avoid the teensy little critters.
To protect myself and the staff this year, I’ve proposed draping each of my colleagues in heavy-gauge plastic and sealing the edges with duct tape, but folks don’t want to cooperate.
Therefore, I’ll take the only other precautions I can to prevent inhaling or otherwise coming into contact with teensy little critters at the office.
I’ve started washing my hands frequently (up to 26 times per workday — I’m nothing if not obssessive) and I try to avoid breathing while in the newsroom. It’s made life at work a bit difficult, but apparently it works; I’m feeling pretty chipper.
How to avoid the malevolent teensy little critters in other locations is a different and greater problem.
My dilemma: I am in one of our local school buildings on occasion.
Have you been in a school building lately? It is a universe unto itself, and a nasty one at that. If you’ve had your flu shot this year, give it a try; go to a school and see for yourself.
You open the door and, instantly, you sense trouble.
First, there’s the smell. It can’t be described, but once experienced, it won’t be forgotten. The complex odor awakens something primal and reptilian at the base of the brain — a sense of alarm, the fight or flight mechanism. Your system is shocked into a state of readiness by massive doses of corticosteroids and adrenaline. Your body sends a message: There is an imminent threat at hand.
Second is the humidity. I’ve measured the humidity inside school buildings and can say with complete confidence it is exactly 34.3 percent higher than the humidity in the air outside the building. Touch the walls inside any school building — they are damp.
Also, the ambient air temperature, fall, winter and spring, is kept at a point ideal for … you got it … the production of teensy little things that make you sick.
A school building is a huge petri dish, an environment not to be entered without an EPA-approved protective suit and self-contained breathing apparatus.
This is no accident. Those scientists working in the lab below Archuleta Mesa and at secret government facilities around the nation are at the heart of the situation. They labor day and night — when they’re not developing new gene-altering substances to add to jet fuel as part of their insidious chemtrail program — to develop new strains of teensy little things in school buildings all across our great land. They incubate the disease-carrying organisms in the schools and the kids (bless their clumsy, naive souls) carry the new strains to the population at large.
As I said, I enter one or more of these petri dishes on a fairly regular basis. I do my best to avoid the teensy little things grown in the buildings: I pull the sleeves of my coat or sweater down over my hands so my skin does not make contact with any surface — door handles, tables, pieces of paper, children, etc. I also refrain from breathing deeply the entire time I am in a building. I took a yoga course and developed the ability to do without oxygen for up to five minutes. I go in the building, do my business, hustle out, take a breath.
Never do I accept a gift of food or drink offered by strangers dressed in white lab coats.
So far, it’s worked. Unfortunately, my wife is out and about, mixing in crowds, a social butterfly.
During flu season, if Kathy attempts to hug me, I pretend to trip and I fall to the floor, grabbing my knee and crying out, “Oh no, it’s the ACL. Quick, get ice.”
When she tries to kiss me I take the wadded up Kleenex I carry at all times, smash it to my face, make a grotesque honking noise, look at the Kleenex and say: “Whoa, I have no idea what color this is, but is there any of this gunk left on my face?”
Tactics such as these are usually successful, but every now and then she surprises me; I find myself in her grasp and we are locked lip to lip.
In those cases, I am in trouble. As I am when I am forced to make a trip to the grocery store. I cannot wear protective gear there, thus I am forced to handle all manner of items pawed by infected customers. I stand in line with fellow shoppers who turn to me, smile, lower their cell phones and cough in my face. But all is not lost if I fortify my defenses against the teensy little critters intent on destroying me.
Hot food — spicewise. Very hot food.
My theory: When confronted with an invasion of teensy little things that make you sick, burn the buggers out.
Forget the chicken soup. What you need are chiles.
In a situation where you receive a major dose of teensy little things, you should pop a habanero, raw. A habanero cruises in at about 200,000 to 300,000 Scoville units — hot enough to remove the finish from a new automobile. By the time your brain stops melting, you’ll be free of disease. You will also need to relearn how to tie your shoes, your Social Security number and your home address. These beauties are reputed to set free a flood of endorphins and to cause the eater to feel intense euphoria. I say the euphoria occurs when you realize you might survive.
In cases of lesser exposure, there is more bearable help, still utilizing the scouring power of the habanero.
Make a roasted habanero sauce and use it as medicine with breakfast, to prepare your body for the onslaught that waits in a disease-riddled environment.
Take a bunch of fresh habaneros and roast them in a heavy, dry, hot pan until they begin to blacken and are soft.
DO NOT STAND OVER THE PAN WHILE THE PEPPERS ROAST. DO NOT BREATHE IN THE AROMA OF THE ROASTING HABANERO. YOU WILL DIE!
Roast some garlic in the oven. Cut the top off a head of garlic, douse it with olive oil, wrap it in foil and roast in the oven at 375 for an hour or so, until soft.
Mince up half a white onion and sauté.
Take the blackened and soft habaneros and seed them.
DO NOT TOUCH THE HABANERO WITH YOUR BARE FINGERS. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES OR PICK YOUR NOSE AFTER SEEDING THE PEPPERS. YOU WILL DIE!
Finely dice the peppers and combine them with roasted garlic, onion, chopped cilantro, a splash of cider vinegar, kosher salt and a little bit of diced, roasted plum tomato. Mash it all up, put in a heavy pan and heat briefly to meld the flavors.
DO NOT STAND OVER THE PAN WHILE THE SAUCE COOKS AND BREATHE IN THE VAPOR. YOU WILL DIE!
To prepare your inoculation make chilaquiles for breakfast. Slice some corn tortillas into strips and sauté them in an oil/butter blend with some diced white onion. At the same time, heat some of the habanero sauce in a small, heavy pan over low heat. Add some cream to the sauce and reduce until thick.
When the strips are toasty, add some beaten, seasoned eggs and scramble the mix over very low heat, adding a knob or two of butter for that oh-so-good fatty feel in the mouth. When the eggs are barely set, toss some grated Asadero of Quesadilla on top of the mixture and allow it to melt. Turn the mix out on a plate and slather with creamy, fiery medicine.
Finish your breakfast then go where you will, with no fear of teensy little things sent to destroy you by evil scientists living below Archuleta Mesa. Pat every kid you meet on the head. Kiss your spouse.
BUT DO NOT TOUCH THEM AFTER YOU HAVE HANDLED THE PEPPERS. THEY WILL DIE!