Millennial Sickness, Hypochondria and Snot Levels


There is something vaguely ironic about the recent discovery that Kurt is allergic to grass. After years of watching his eyes stream and his chest heave at certain times of the year – symptoms I originally put down to Karma for abusing his body, (because I’m compassionate like that), and the sad reality that none of the five fruit and vegetables make up Aldi’s Chocolate Pillows breakfast cereal – it turns out that the culprit is hay fever.


Those of you that have kids on the Spectrum might not know that it makes them much more susceptible to allergies for some reason.


Inevitably, the old man passed has down the man-flu gene to our son, but what not even I realized until today, is just how difficult it is to persuade a Millennial that what they have is a just a case of the common cold, which doesn’t entitle them to a sick day.


When you come from a one-parent family background that relies on that one salary to put food on the table, a day off work is not really an option. You dose yourself up, shove a loo roll in your handbag, and you muddle through. That is what we were taught in the UK, where an inherent toughness is vital to survive the possibility of invasion at any time or a colder summer than winter. The cold is an accepted part of life over there, almost a badge of honor, the natural order of things – a bit like how trains stop running when it snows.


If everyone took a day off each time they had a sniffle, unemployment levels would skyrocket and the country would face a much greater national disaster than Brexit.


Australians are somewhat less resilient, I’ve discovered. While we Brits know that if you have the flu, you can’t actually get out of bed without losing control of your bodily functions and scaring people away, Aussies turn up to work, sneeze in your face and use “the flu” as an excuse.


Now, I’m not going to tell my son to ‘man the fuck up’, because I believe that sort of sexist comment encourages male toxicity and misandry, however, I do believe that I may need to introduce my children to my mother’s snot level guide, the way she distinguished how sick we really were as kids.


You see, back in the day, before we had modern gadgets such as thermometers, Neurofen and Dr Google, our mums decided if we had a temperature, usually by feeling our foreheads or by watching how much we ate. Another means – and one that my Mum was quite partial to for sniffing out the hypochondriac, was the snot test – and I can still remember those terrifying moments during her lengthy examination of my snotty tissue that I knew would determine my fate.


If the snot was at the clear end of the scale, we were fine; yellow and stringy – leaning towards green – it was a cold; I imagine that red snot would have made my mother’s brow crease with… could that be worry? Fortunately, one ever had red snot from memory, because that might have involved a trip to the doctor and woe betides anyone who was sick enough to see the doctor.

Can Women Get Man Flu?

Can it really only be a week or so ago that I was bragging to a client about how I never get colds since I’ve lived in Sydney? Yet here I am, on my third day in bed.eye-743409_1280


I take full responsibility for this Karma because someone, somewhere, must have heard me when I wished silently for some sort of…any sort of reprieve from work when I felt at a low ebb recently. What you forget at those moments is that when you’re genuinely sick, you feel far too shite to watch Netflix all day or try out new Pinterest plaits.


And this cold is ugly. Even the Princess, usually the perfect support when anyone in the family is sick, has begun to look at me with pity, as though I’m that gross, green snot monster from some advert for cold medication, or a troll from Lord of The Rings.


I will, however, make it clear that this is only the common cold and that if I absolutely had to get up for something important, like if Chris Hemsworth suddenly turned up on my doorstep, I could do it – which means that it’s definitely not the flu.


I’ve discovered that Australians, in spite of being the toughest fuckers on the planet when it comes to wildlife, can be the most pathetic species when it comes to sickness – either that or they’ve never experienced real influenza, because that’s how many of them describe the common cold.


‘Don’t get too close, I’ve got the flu,’ I hear them say feebly over lunch, as they guzzle on their second glass of wine.


Having said that, mine is definitely a version of man flu this time, because even though I know in my old bones that it’s only a cold, this one feels far more virulent than my normal strain. It’s the strain the old man normally gets after me, a real bad boy that is more like the type I used to get in the UK where we had snow and real weather to explain it.


Typical symptoms include not being able to breathe normally – not good for someone with anxiety. I’ve mentioned before about my over-exuberant gag reflex, usually demonstrated whenever I put a parking ticket in my mouth while I search for a space in a car park…and at other times… but it’s far worse with a cold because I can’t even breathe out of my nose at what I see as my last resort just prior to death – like when I’m eating.


And I’m eating! Because science dictates that you feed a cold, and I don’t really need an excuse to eat.


Then there’s that endless stream of green stuff that just when you think you’ve got to the bottom of it starts oozing again and it always starts with that annoying itchy trickle, usually just as I’m about to doze off, so I’m tired and crabby too.


It could be worse, I know…but could it really?