We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in a big lecture hall and for some reason it is dead silent. Maybe the professor has stopped lecturing to write an equation on the board, or perhaps they’ve received the typically icy McGill response to a question they had posed. Either way, the room is totally quiet, but it won’t stay that way for long.
A moment passes and then you hear the first one. A cough from the far side of the room. This brave pioneer seems to spur on the others, and you catch the sound of a couple of sneezes from those keeners up front. Emboldened by the success of their peers, countless more join in, and before long, you are assaulted by a deafening cacophony of snorting, sniffing, snorfling, hacking, nose-blowing, and throat clearing. It is as if every sad, sorry, sick student in the world is enrolled in this class and has decided to expel their revolting bodily fluids at the same time. And you, seemingly the last healthy person on the planet — or at least in Bronfman — cannot help but feel as though you will inevitably join the ranks of this diseased horde. At that instant you know: Winter is Coming. The weather outside is frightful and the germs inside are definitely not delightful.
Emboldened by the success of their peers, countless more join in, and before long, you are assaulted by a deafening cacophony of snorting, sniffing, snorfling, hacking, nose-blowing, and throat clearing.
Let me be clear; I am not blaming anyone for getting sick. People cannot control illness any more than McGill can control the temperature of McLennan (seriously, did someone forget to pay the hydro bill?). What I do condemn, however, is the flu-people’s unfathomable need to get us sick along with them. At least the ailing masses of the past had the decency to quarantine themselves. You didn’t see lepers just wandering around the village, touching doorknobs with reckless abandon!
I don’t know what drives these people to try and live their lives as if nothing has changed. Maybe they’re in denial and seriously believe they are healthy like the rest of us. After all, who causes the most trouble in every zombie movie? The guy who refuses to admit he’s been bit. Perhaps it’s the illness itself that motivates them, and their insistence on coming to class is a result of some kind of sickness-induced delirium. But possibly, and I hope this is not the case, they engage in public life out of some twisted desire to bring us down with them like some sort of virus wilding kamikaze pilot.
Whatever the reason may be, I am fed up. Enough is enough; as the self-appointed representative of The Healthy, I have this to say to the infected mob: STAY HOME!
Though you may feel the need to interact with the rest of us, I promise you it’s not that important. You’re afraid of falling behind in school? Guess what — lectures are recorded. And if you’re worried that the community cannot handle a couple of days without hearing your brilliant remarks in person, let me assure you that we can. You miss your friends? No problem – that’s what texting is for.
Enough is enough; as the self-appointed representative of The Healthy, I have this to say to the infected mob: STAY HOME!
I know that some might ask, “What about those poor germs? How will they spread if we don’t help them?”
Let me assure you that the viruses don’t need our assistance. They have been evolving for millions of years to make us sick, and over that time they have mastered their craft. Whooping cough made people whoop before we were born, and it will continue its whooping ways long after we are gone.
So, to all those whose parents made them go to school when they were sick for some misguided reason, and to any former attendance award winners who cannot bear to miss a single lecture, remember that you are an adult now. At the first sign of a sniffle, I implore you to resist your impulse to go to class. Instead, make yourself a hot, tasty beverage, turn on your Netflix series of choice, and settle into bed. I promise that you’ll sleep all the better for it, and, more importantly, so will I.