’Tis the season for sniffles and such

The season of random viruses is upon us.
People are coming to blows to be poked with sharp needles and zinc is your new best friend. But if you still have doubts, just drop by your nearest elementary school. Wear your helmet. It is the front lines.
Last week, I was about to jump on the line to the CDC.
There was some discussion about how to prevent catching the swine flu and one kindergartener announced, with eyes wide, “My brother has Swine Nose!”
It turns out that neither a virus or a curse by a wicked witch was turning the stricken brother’s face into a pig.
There was just a panicky mishearing when the mother remarked that her son had a “swollen nose,” which is certainly indignity enough.
And a loss of dignity seems to be one big side affect of this unhealthy season.
One third-grader was mortified when she threw up in the library checkout line Friday.
Far above any distress from her nausea, chills, fever and such, was the embarrassment of tossing your lunch in front of the entire class.
And the class wasn’t terribly sympathetic, either.
They scattered like marbles, with shrieks and groans, as the debacle began.
I was marvelously useless, vaulting over my desk with a small handful of tissues.
We got the poor little critter to the nurse’s office, but not without thorough damage to the rug, her socks, shoes, legs, hands and hair.
It is not a great time to be a school custodian or a school nurse.
The only good idea I had was to swiftly cover the area with butcher paper, in a heroic out-of-sight, out-of-mind effort, just to get the rest of the class checked out and gone.
It seemed to work, but my spray bottle of lavender water was just too little, too late.
I am now prepared for the return of the black plague, armed with rolls of towels, a box to catch flying whatever, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and tissues at the ready.
On another kindergarten subject, I have a bit of bad news for casinos everywhere. It seems the upcoming generation is taking its lessons on fairness very seriously.
I created two candy-covered gingerbread houses that I plan to award via a drawing of names from a box this week. When I explained to a kindergarten class that their names would go into the box and only two people would win, I was swiftly and summarily told, “It’s not fair if there isn’t enough for everyone!” Never mind the thrill of the gamble, the excitement of chance, or that two out of 600 are reasonable odds. I had children already pouting because they might not win. I would rethink a Vegas vacation with the under-6 set. Perhaps their attitudes will ease by 2030.
 Meanwhile, my advice to all is to wash those hands, avoid all human contact and keep a very close watch on your nose.


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