Dear Viral Fever
(Not to be confused with the social media viral fever. This is the original gangster which leaves your legs feeling like plutonium dumbbells and your backbone like if someone embroidered on it with iron thread)
There was a time when you had influence and clout in all circles. Your name meant something, and people would stop and listen. I fear much erosion. It’s just not the same anymore. You are not even an also-ran today. So, here is my almost-eulogy, because you are still around, and much feared, in a few limited demographics.
With great virtue, comes a great viral fever
You were always a good fever. I remember in the days of your or my youth, how being sick at school was actually an ignominy, but being “down with a viral fever” was top-shelf. Everyone would find a way to leave a “get well soon” message without Whatsapp. Some would even stop by after school to inquire, at a safe distance. You would bring plates of hot, runny kichchdi, everything else room-temperature and one hour more of mom time daily. At least one person would be in full attendance, either via shifts or one full person on duty. This was the king of respectable sicknesses. Your halcyon days. Don’t get me wrong, you still regularly knock everyone out, but the atmospherics has slimmed quite a bit. The emoticon has gone from “All hail” to “Meh, whatever, get in line”.
The elite microbes take over
At a microbe convention somewhere, the virus community felt they needed to mix things up a bit. They had had a good run at school and other community establishments, but some microbe with an advanced degree in risk management, took it onto itself to “Make Viruses Great Again”. Hello, all kinds of elite viruses. They had their own four-letter alphanumeric acronyms, task forces, government funding, wait lists, bumper stickers, preventive helmets and what nots. The only thing this achieved was make washing hands cool. Now, every community establishment has a cool interactive touch screen about all the ten movements involved in washing your hands in the ONLY ONE WAY that the World Health Organization approves of. A classic anticlimax. In the bargain, the original gangster viral fever also kept losing ratings, because it was not mean enough. It had become a parody of itself.
Those terrible, terrible remedies
Calling in sick for a viral fever is worse than the sickness itself. It does not carry the entitlement it used to, and everyone, with our own personal MBBS degree, automatically assumes that an antibiotic exists that will fix it. When, in fact, an antibiotic has as much power on a virus, as Netflix has on timely sleep. NADA. Or when you are supposed to be healed by such timeless quotidian magic as “Feed the fever”, “A fever will leave in seven days if treated, and in a week, if untreated”, or the evergreen, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Why do we even have medical schools, anyway? I could just do with these and regular viewings of House M.D. Too much drama and elevator misuse in Grey’s Anatomy.
So, Mr Viral Feevs, you can be out-virused by anything today, and there is much diversity in the sick leave “hall of fame”. Someone has signed off on “intestinal disillusionment” and “thoracic heartbreak” in some office today.
You are still a force to reckon with in daycares and schools though. Ask any mother of little creatures. Or don’t. Mothers are now immunized against such platitudes like “this flu has been in the air”, “this is the luck of the draw”, “you are a working mama so this had to happen” or my personal favorite, “have you done steam inhalation yet?” They are your fans, Viral Fever. Every year, you do the “hafta vasooli” with Mamas Incorporated, and they still dread you. Especially in those summer months, when “flu is in the air”, and all those other months when “there is that bug going around”.
They said Thanks. Just kidding. They DID NOT.
No virus were harmed in the making of this gibberish bunkum