Thursday, February 22, 2007

'Man flu'

Man flu is a ghastly and most debilitating ailment, and bears no resemblance to the kind of flu that women get. It's certainly not a 'bit of a sniffle' - a phrase that I've heard being unkindly bandied about in our house.

I would say it's more like malaria. That same feeling of one's bones being slowly crushed from within...the uncontrollable chattering of the teeth...the raging thirst for liquid...any liquid. (Although tea for preference. And maybe a digestive biscuit to go with it, but only if you happen to be passing the Co-op on your way home from work.)

Horses used to get something similar, I believe, or perhaps I'm thinking of cattle. It was known as 'the staggers'. Or was it 'the botts'? I'm so delirious I can't remember, but I do know that they usually died of it and I'm hardly surprised. This would definitely kill a horse, what I've got.

They found a cure for horse flu but nothing for man flu, as yet, so we must take whatever comfort we can. My Dad used to swear by the 'whiskey and hat' method for treating the condition. It's one of those simple old country remedies that seem to have gone by the by, along with ducking-stools and blood-letting. You get yourself a bottle of whiskey and sit yourself up in bed with it, having first hung your hat on the bedpost. Any class of hat will do, but take Irish whiskey for medicinal choice. Then you drink the whiskey and stare at the hat.

Just keep on doing that...sipping at the medicine and watching the hat. Eventually, if you look closely, you'll see that there are actually two hats. Maybe more.

At this point, stop. Put down the medicine bottle and go to sleep. When you next awake you'll be cured - or cured of man flu at any rate. I gather there may be some residual side effects, but I can't say what these might be as I've never tried it. Whiskey makes me gip.

Ah me. I wonder if the priest is still awake. Maybe I ought to get him to pop round. I had to miss my Wednesday night game of snooker this week, and that's serious. But there. I don't suppose there's much he can do for me now.

No, quiet fortitude is the only way through man flu, and so it's aptly named in that respect. We don't complain.

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