A Cold Affront

My father has a theory about colds which may or may not be backed with any science but seems to be accurate in the field.

First you have to accept that the sniffles does not a cold make. Some people say that being a bit congested is a first sign of a cold but you can get the sniffles completely independently of a cold. First you have to allow this which I think is pretty reasonable.

So while holding that sniffles and a cold are unrelated we can now say that no two people in one family get a cold at the same time. People get sympathy sniffles but not concurrent colds. Each person in a family or an office will, in a rather British way, wait for the preceding person to finish up before falling ill themselves.

This is because, according to my father, there are a finite number of colds in the world. Each person is giving their cold to each other (as conventional wisdom holds) but in this model unlike conventional wisdom the cold departs the giver when it moves on to a new victim.

If you think back to past occasions when colds have been rife you will probably find this is true for you. One person caring for the other and then you swap.

Oh I’m sure you can think of some random occasion when this hasn’t been the case. But this is still possible if randomly you caught two different colds from two different people.

This does lead you to a rather interesting conclusion though. If the only way to get rid of a cold is to pass it on maybe lying in bed is asking for trouble. You only see your family members and then when they’re sick they only see you. Maybe going back into work works for you, maybe random strangers on the bus. Where ever you decide to do it you’ll need to expose yourself to others to get rid of the damn thing. So don’t stay tucked up in bed for too long.

Now “Alex”, you might be thinking, “if their are a finite number of colds where do they all go in the summer?” The answer is obvious. They migrate. They’re all in Australia at the moment as winter approaches “down under”.

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