“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” - Mark Twain
I know it’s a stretch, but hear me out. You have millions of people across the nation who didn’t bother getting a flu shot, and everybody’s getting sick as a result, many of them Seahawks fans. Perhaps a fervent Seattle supporter in Atlanta had to stay home from the game, while those present were a little hesitant to cheer loudly, embrace other fans in celebration, or have another beer, because they also didn’t get a flu shot and were a little worried about contracting the virus. And maybe some of the Seahawks didn’t tackle as hard as they should or try to catch the ball, because they were more worried about germs than the game. It’s entirely possible, or perhaps this entire paragraph is here because I stubbornly wanted to keep the title. That’s probably the case.
We are in the midst of a particularly severe flu season, which is a polite way of saying there’s a lot of puking going on (don’t picture it!). Though the season has just begun, the current flu levels are typically associated with peak numbers. Countless people are sweating and shoving Neti pots up their nose and cancelling plans they weren’t that committed to in the first place. Your lungs feel like that contraption they used to clear out the carbon dioxide in “Apollo 13,” your nose empties like an overfilled Super Soaker, and your head burns like another pop culture simile. It’s pretty rough, I hear.
This brings us back to the flu shot. I hate flu shots, but I don’t just hate flu shots, I hate any type of government shot. It makes me uncomfortable. Not the part where the sharp pointy thing pierces my soft, precious skin. That I can get over. What bothers me is accepting shots from the government. I don’t trust ‘em! The whole thing feels intrusive. How do I know they’re not injecting me with information, like the movie “Aeon Flux”? How do I know they’re not giving some sort of drug that induces passivity? I see construction projects taking too long and constant errors in car ticketing, and I don’t want that bureaucracy sticking something into my beautiful, Hercules-like arms. I know I sound like a guy in a Michigan militia, but it’s just how I feel for the purpose of this paragraph.
It’s also a prideful thing. Perhaps like you, I fancy myself the model of health. I stare in the mirror at my rock hard abs (they’re under there, somewhere) and laugh at the idea of contracting the flu. “Let the rest of these puny humans struggle with disease,” I say, “the germs shall bounce off my immune system like arrows from a castle wall.” Flu is something that only happens to other people, other weak people. “Let the herd be thinned,” I say to the mirror, “let the wheat be separated from the chaff, and let the chaff be divided again into even better chaff, because it can’t all be good chaff.”
That being said, I did get a flu shot a few weeks ago, and there’s a very specific reason: I hang out with a lot of babies. I don’t have a baby, but I do count babies as some of my greatest friends. They’ve always been there for me, and there’s nothing I like more than shooting the shit with a baby. Sometimes they’re my nephew; sometimes they’re a baby stranger. In any case, they know how to hang like the best of them. So if I’m going to be around these babies, I have to get a flu shot, because they’re the most susceptible. The idea is to not be a vector of disease for all the vulnerable people in your life, you selfish bastard (what?).
“But Chason,” you may be pleading to your computer monitor/newspaper/mind feed (only for the premium CHT members), “the flu shot is only 62 percent effective!” That sounds like a pretty good argument, until you consider that barely anything is 62 percent effective. Baseball players rarely bat over 300, half of all marriages end, and a smaller percentage of your friends actually like you. And you expect the flu to be more effective than that? Not in this life, buddy!
Getting the shot ain’t so bad. You head to a hospital or a pharmacy in your best upper arm-revealing clothes and say, “Give me your strongest flu shot, no alcohol swab.” The clerk may smirk at you and respond, “Come crawling back, eh? Thought you were too good for a flu shot!” Take out a razor blade and start cutting your arm, never breaking eye contact. He’ll know you mean business. When he has the needle ready, put a wooden spoon in your mouth and yell, “Do it! Do it you goddamn pussy! Ahhhhhhhhhh!”
Afterwards you get a lollipop! And very little chance of flu.