Once again, my employer is offering free flu shots. They are giving us plenty of opportunities to get the shot and pitching the benefits of getting it. Unlike other types of communications in our company, however, the repeated flu shot promotion is already beginning to hit fever pitch. My inbox is receiving at least 3 to 4 e-mails per week offering - emphasizing - stressing - cajoling each employee to get one.
I work at the corporate office of a healthcare organization. That's right - I'm simply an overhead cost with no patient interaction. So while there is little risk to my catching the flu and passing it to a patient, I suppose I do run the risk of making my co-workers sick or vice versa.
Yet, I'm declining the shot as I do each year. Whether I'm lucky or good, I haven't contracted the flu before. Call me superstitious, smart, or an idiot, but I'm still not planning to get it - the flu or the shot. Last year (and again this year), we were at least presented an alternative: (1) get the shot ya stinkin' conformist or (2) wear a mask if you leave the corporate office for any reason.
But I am curious what strain we'll have this year. Certainly, the U.S. will see its share of traditional flu cases - the Coke Classic if you will of the flu strain. In addition, however, the flu has gone a bit chic the last couple of years with a bonus flu.
Two years ago, we all heard rumors of the bird flu. I'm not sure it ever developed though a co-worker or two was quite certain they nearly died of the stuff at least a couple of times.
Last year, the flu everyone had to have was the Andy Warhollish, 15-minutes-of-fame Swine Flu. Remember this one? Perfectly good bacon sources were slaughtered all over the world once someone in a neighborhood caught the sniffles and bought a bottle of Tussin.
Because I've chosen not to get the flu shot, I feel a bit out of the loop. I readily admit I'm not as hip about this year's Critter Flu as folks around me flocking like lemmings to willingly get stuck. I haven't heard about FLU 2010. So I'm left wondering about what poor, helpless life form may shoulder the blame for this year's flu crisis. Will it be....
The Possum Flu - This type of flu likely hits you right about the time you cross a street at night on your way to the drug store for Tamiflu. You see the on-coming lights of a car while running a fever, and *boom* down you go. The upside of this strain is the symptoms disappear quickly. Once the car is gone, you can generally arise and continue on your merry way.
The Spider Flu - This strain has the potential to cause many folks to miss work repeatedly during the winter because the funk can settle into a pair of legs up to four times a season. Also, its rumored this strain spawns a reddish, hour-glass shaped rash on your abdomen.
The Praying Mantis Flu - If this one develops as expected, look out. This strain is slow to show its symptoms and normally only affects women. A woman harboring the PMF virus generally doesn't know she's contracted it. But after a sex session with a man, PMF becomes very apparent to her when she bites the head off her mate. Sadly, her man's final words are likely "dear, how long have you had that sniffle?"
The Ostrich Flu - A spin-off of the bird flu, this strain is a bit milder than the others. Two temporary but painful and unsightly symptoms are the elongation of the neck and rapid growth of a fat ass. Also, the stress brought on by the ostrich flu results in the patient mentally withdrawing from all reality around him or her - putting their "head in the sand" if you will.
Despite the risks of Flu 101 and Nouveau Flu, I remain committed to declining the shot. The decision about your getting one, however, can be made by only one person: YOU. Well technically if you work or are married to a woman, this isn't exactly true. Odds are against you as your wife or boss may force you to get one. But you understand the point I hope.
With apologies to John Lennon: I am the eggman. I am the walrus. Flu, flu, ah-choo!