I have had a flu shot for the first time since the last public health panic. I think it was swine flu or bird flu or nargle flu or something, but it was not an experience that engendered my trust in the public health system.
So I would like it to be clear that my reasons for taking the flu shot were not scientific. I lack the ability or motivation to test the results of a particular generation of flu vaccinations. So I would be simply trusting what the health system says. That is social formation rather than science, so I insist that I took the flu shot out of superstition, purely.
But the superstitious leap is worth it, I think. Really, truly, I didn’t want to have the flu at Christmas, as I have had about half the time. Instead of watching family films and drinking eggnog by the Christmas tree, I spend half my Christmases in the little broom cupboard where we keep infectious people. It sucks missing Christmas.
Mostly, besides peace on earth and good will to my fellow humans and family time by the fire, I miss the turkey. Though I was sick and could not eat, the heavenly aroma still hung heavy in the house. But as my stomach turned it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup!
Instead, after a few days, I have some dried toast and flat ginger ale.
I don’t know if this particular flu vaccine will save me from whatever flu threatens to ruin Christmas, but I don’t want it. So in a move of desperation, fingers crossed, I got the flu shot.
They used a frozen rag on the back of my neck to keep me from fainting. Fainting from the overwhelming miracle of science and the beauty of the unquestioned authority of government health, I mean, not the terror I have of needles.
Miracles, or luck. Or whatever. I don’t really care. I’m also taking vitamin C and ColdFX for the same reason: superstition. If I had lucky shoes or could light candles in a certain order, I would do it. I live 51 weeks a year pretending with everyone else that we live in a scientific worldview. For one week I can surrender to superstition so I can enjoy the holiday. The turkey, mostly, but also light of the world and hope and all that stuff.
Wow, this has turned out to be a terrifically cynical post that was really meant to wish people a Merry Christmas! Oh well. I think it is okay to have some things fail from time to time.
Except for turkey and family time I care very little about the holiday. But I do have an important Jan 3rd deadline, so I’m pulling back from the blog for a couple of weeks.
I am taking a Christmas vacation! Doubtless one with less hilarity, but also fewer calls to the police. I hope.
I will post a nice Christmas day note (not a terrible one like this), but I won’t be on social media or chatty in the comments. You all can, as they say locally, “have atter,” and continue the excellent digital discussion of books and the Inklings and everything. Myself, I will either be on the couch, at the dinner table, at my desk, or in the isolation cupboard under the stairs. I’ll return in January with some reading notes and then my planned series on “(Re)Considering the Planet Narnia Thesis.”
For now, best wishes on the season. And keep away the nargles.