I woke feeling woogly. I hate waking feeling woogly because it can only mean two things: 1) aliens abducted me during the night and kept me out way past my bedtime, or 2) I’m sick.
As much as I hate being sick, I hoped it was No. 1.
Self-check: no triangular marks, no strange implants up my nose, T-shirt’s on right, butt feels fine. Hmm. The little gray guys are getting tricky.
I got up and made it to the bathroom in time to realize it wasn’t No. 1 after all. I had the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (motto: “Wasting time until the Zombie Apocalypse”), most cases of influenza occur in the United States between October/November and April/May. The fact that these bouts of hovering over a toilet roughly correspond to the NBA season isn’t lost on me.
What the CDC doesn’t tell us – at least not as directly as “eating raw cookie dough can lead to a wondrous taste explosion and possible E. coli and salmonella-filled death” – is what months most cases of the flu don’t occur.
Sure, we could figure it out on our own, but in this busy world of being easily distracted by electronic devices, who has the time?
To discover what most threatens humanity between June and September, I had to turn to a more reliable source than the government – “A Book of Man Eaters,” by famed British big game hunter Brig. Gen. Reginald George Burton (1931).
The thing most likely to attack a human in the summer is bears.
Going outside my home I have a greater chance of being attacked by a bear than contracting the flu, and I contracted the flu. At least with the bear I would have had a fighting chance. Why do you think I carry a crossbow when I check the mail in my underwear?
Hmm. Maybe that’s why the neighbors moved. Too many bears around here.
It had been a while since I’d had the flu. I’d forgotten what a roller coaster of fun it was. Dashing to the bathroom, feeling immediately better and drinking Sprite, dashing back to the bathroom because I dared to put anything in my stomach, developing the sleeping patterns of our cat, thinking “wow, when did I eat that?” and having more muscle aches than Harrison Ford getting out of bed in the morning.
It was exactly like those times in college when I drank too much tequila and woke up with grass stains on my forehead. The only differences were, then I did it voluntarily and actually paid money to feel like I had the flu.
What’s next? Will I be hit by a meteorite?
“You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time,” Florida State College astronomer Michael Reynolds said to National Geographic about a human being struck by a space rock.
Oh, great. Now I have all that to look forward to. Life was easier when I just had to worry about bears.
Jason Offutt’s newest book, “Chasing American Monsters: 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.