Last night, deflated by missing a post and unable, once again, to sleep I happened to stumble across a BBC web page which said that the symptoms associated with the new ‘Delta’ variation of Covid-19 are those of the Common Cold, and it struck me then that, quite frankly, the cold is not quite so common anymore is it?
You know the way things go.
Mask wearing, socially distancing, hand-washing humans, it appears, are not nearly as susceptible to colds as in the past. I know exactly where I got my last cold from: from the same place as all grandparents catch their colds. Grandchilden: the ultimate Super-spreaders. No evil power ever has to devise a missile with which to deliver the agents of biological warfare; just load up a grandchild. When they’re out for a cuddle, the presence of a three inch snot-trail across their face is not going to stop them from giving you one. I believe that it is probably in the small print of Domestos: ‘Kills 99.9% of all known germs, unless they are associated with a weeping child’. Whatever it was that Tony Blair and George W. were hoping to find in Iraq, they were looking in the wrong place.
The Common Cold is not a serious complaint (unless you are a man) and its effects are not too bad – I find that breathing is probably overrated anyway – but by and large I could manage perfectly well without them, thank you very much. The snotty, runny-nosed sneezing phase is one upon which I normally only embark on the morning of an interview. Crispin Underfelt will recall that when we first gathered together for the recording of our radio series- so many moons ago that Apple was just the label used by the Beatles and a laptop was something you rested your dinner plate on – I was mucus-filled and consequently sounded just like every other adenoidal local radio broadcaster on the tapes. If my cold had not cleared up by the second recording session, I think I might have been offered a job.
And I cannot consider running with a cold. I get out of breath just thinking about it and my throat is so sore that I dare not suck air through it except in the minimal amounts called for by total slothfulness. The combination of blocked-up nasal passages and sore throat means that breathing is accompanied by what I can only describe as a death rattle. My hooter** will become bright red and sore, my limbs will feel like they belong to somebody else and I will not run even if the rain has stopped – especially if the flashing lights are no longer in the sky, but behind my eyes and the rumble is not of thunder, but of my chest trying to do something, anything, with the meagre amount of oxygen it is receiving. If (by dint of some miraculous tear in the space/time continuum) I saw me running towards me with a cold, I would immediately be looking for the man with the scythe chasing on behind. I sound like a man who is far too ill to be in the mortuary, let alone running around the village streets in a pair of baggy shorts and a T shirt clearly made to fit somebody else.
The Cold will return when Covid restrictions get lifted and will, doubtless, make a real nuisance of itself in the absence of recently modified antibodies. Surely Science is missing a trick by searching for cures for specific diseases, when what it really needs to do is to come up with a multi-purpose antibody, perhaps a miniature Batman equipped with a utility belt or a midget Iron Man with a medical A-Z. Like a biological McAffe, but without the tendency to make everything else crash around it.
Anyway, in place of the Cold, everybody seems to have hay fever at the moment. However, the rain has now arrived, the pollen has all washed away, the air is clearer and, despite my increasing slothfulness, I will be able to run today after all. Unless, of course, I catch a cold in the meantime.
You know the way things go.
*Acute Coryza is one of the many scientific names used for The Common Cold. It is seldom used by doctors as such a diagnosis is always followed by the patient saying “Why thank you doctor, I think yours is very cute too.”
**Nose – usually when of the size and shape of W.C. Fields proboscis.