2006-11-16 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

There's a code in my node
By Sam Bari

Tis the season. No, not the holiday season. 'Tis the flu, cold, and annoying maladies

season. You know what I'm talkin' about. Kids get it in school, pass it around to their friends, then take it home and give it to their families who share it with their neighbors, and eventually it gets around to you when it is least expected. You just wake up one morning paralyzed, unable to draw a breath or exhale without making disgusting wheezing and gurgling sounds. You swear a twoton pachyderm has set up residency on your chest, and it has bad breath. Your teeth feel mushy and your tongue has a crunchy texture that doesn't seem quite right.

Hmmm... it... Exactly what is it? You know, the it that makes us so miserable when we suddenly feel feverish, sore, headachy, congested and out of sorts. What makes us know we have a code in our node? Yeah - that's right. I dot a code in my node, and I feel worse than horrible. Denial is out of the question. I am sick.

It's time to consult the Googlamaniacs and get a few nanoseconds of research on the subject. The straight poop on the common cold is long overdue. Okay. Everybody tense up. Here it is folks . . . the common cold - the truth revealed.

Huh? Rhinoviruses? That's it? We spare no expense to have you Googlamaniacs on staff and the best you can do is rhinoviruses? Say it isn't so. Must be somethin' to it though. They all came up with the same thing.

Let's see, we can do this. I believe "rhin" is a Greek word that means nose, and we all know that a virus is a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat. It is too small to be seen by light microscopy and can multiply only within the living cells of a host. In simpler terms, it's a germ. All right - so I looked it up.

Anyway, if we put them together, we have a nose germ. Makes sense, even through fever induced delirium. I obviously have germs in my nose. However, the "o" puts a different spin on the matter. "Rhino" is a short form of "rhinoceros." Huh? "Rhinoceros!" This is not good. I believe the common cold is caused by a rhinoceros the size of a microscopic germ. Well, no wonder I'm sick. I'm surprised we're not all sick. Anybody with what we have long recognized as a common cold is infested with a herd of possibly thousands of actual mini-rhinoceroses running around inside their respiratory systems. These armor plated mini-monsters are probably doing just obscene things in there. The Center for Disease Control should be called immediately. This could get ugly.

Time to consult the Googlamaniacs again. Okay guys. Cure for the common cold - look it up. The crack research team worked intensely for a tenth of a second and came up with 9,600,000 Web sites addressing the cure for a common cold.

I am sad to say that not one site offered a cure. Apparently, a medicinal cure for the common cold does not exist. It's a virus and it must run its course. So-called patent medicines on the market only offer relief. Everything else is preventative. A Chinese herbalist offered a 24-herb cure that takes seven days to work if a cold is severe. Unfortunately, the side effects could make you sicker than the cold that will go away in seven days anyway. If I want to get through this, I must "stay the course." Hmmm . . . where have I heard that before? Sounds like a tired political strategy that probably won't succeed.

One of the Web sites highly recommended garlic as a deterrent. I'm sure that'll work. If I were a microscopic rhinoceros I wouldn't want to live in anybody's throat that had garlic breath either. If I eat the fresh garlic now, it will probably annoy them, and they'll do their worst just to make me stop. I don't know about these cold pills, though. How can they be effective? Should I try to hit a mini-rhino on the head with one on the way down so it knocks him out and makes me feel a little better until he wakes up? Too bad I can't just shoot him.

This is awful. Every time I blow my nose, moose gather in my front yard. Yesterday, one showed up at my door carrying flowers. Whenever I sneeze, the china in the cabinet rattles. Thoughts of expiring are in the top 10 on my list of desirable options. I was hoping the feverinduced hallucinations would be more interesting, but no such luck. I suppose the common cold is just another part of that system we can't understand.

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