Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Petroleum Man

Last night I made a trip to Target for some chicken soup and orange juice--I was hit by the flu early this week, and Target has really low prices on chicken soup. I also made a stop at the Sunoco station on the corner of Wolcott and Lakewood. I was a little surprised to see a panhandler asking drivers for spare change, and I was a little surprised by how cheery and friendly everyone was being. Usually people being panhandled become surly or terrified, but the people he panhandled cheerily wished him good luck. I don't know why they weren't upset, maybe the gas station is close enough to Wolcott that people feel safe?

When he asked me if I had any spare change, I warned him that I had the flu. He then told me that things like swine flu and pneumonia are caused by water. Bear in mind that, thanks to the flu, I wasn't entirely coherent, but I think maybe he wasn't all that coherent either. He went on to explain that the germs get in through the pores in your skin, possibly via water (I didn't entirely understand how water factored into the equation), therefore you should coat your skin with a layer of petroleum to keep out the flu. If only I had known that sooner! Somebody inform the CDC and start spreading the grease around!

On a more serious note, there are reports of a recent spike in flu-type symptoms at Connecticut emergency rooms, and it does seem like a lot of people have been getting sick lately. There's some speculation that Waterbury has a higher immunity to swine flu, because we had more cases of it in the spring. The first delivery of swine flu vaccine isn't due to arrive in Connecticut for several more weeks, by which time we may already be well into flu season. While I don't recommend coating your skin with petroleum, I do recommend stocking up on flu supplies before you get sick, so you don't have to make a late-night, half-delirious chicken soup run.

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