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How to not get sick

| Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for preschoolers, snowplows and that one person who actually looks good in red and green. It’s also the most wonderful time of the year for germs.

The last time I interviewed a batch of bacteria, they said they couldn’t imagine a better time of year than the holiday season. Everyone gives each other hugs and kisses (and germs). Aunts and uncles hop on planes to bring their nieces and nephews pie and presents (and germs). Washing hands? Ain’t nobody got time for that. There are cookies to be decorated with frosting and sprinkles (and germs).

By now, you may be worried about catching a cold in the near future. This is good. I am brainwashing you to start hand washing.

Now, my hypnotized victims, it is time for you to ask: Can you save yourself from the sniffles? The answer is — drumroll from A) the little drummer boy, B) 12 drummers drumming or C) the Notre Dame drumline — yes. Follow these reasonable rules, and you will never be mistaken for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer again.

Rule 1) Bring your own bathroom (BYOB)

Bathrooms will make you sick. Repeat after me: public bathrooms are the enemy.

“But Erin!” you might say. “Sometimes I need to go to the bathroom and I cannot run or skip or seesaw home.”

This is an understandable plight. I have, on occasion, also had to use the restroom when I was out of my house. Yes, I do leave my house. Don’t make that face. You’re supposed to be hypnotized.

What I have come to realize, and what you will now come to believe until you come to your senses, is that you must bring your own bathroom if you are ever going to get through Thanksgiving dinner without sneezing on the mashed potatoes. You convinced your family last year that you added pesto to the potatoes, but this year, you are in charge of the pie. You won’t be able to make up an excuse for boogery pumpkin pie.

But how can you bring your own bathroom? It’s simple. Put a Porta Potty in your backpack. It will fit. Remember: You are hypnotized.

Your own bathroom will be so much better than a public one. You can have embroidered hand towels instead of those weak hand-dryers. I’m sure there are other pluses. Insert them here.

Rule 2) Curse the sneezers

All those suckers who offer a “bless you” to sneezers are simply inviting the diseased to enter their personal bubble and infect them. Make it clear to those sickies that you want them to stay far, far away by responding to sneezes with a forceful “Curse you.” You may not have much experience with confrontation, so I invite you to practice, out loud, right now. Remember: you are hypnotized, and this is entertaining.

Rule 3) Eat the orange

See the orange. Peel the orange. Eat the orange. Preferably in that order. You could try to peel the orange without seeing it, or eating the orange without peeling it, but you might not enjoy the experience. Then again, you might get some great vitamins from that peel, so go ahead and eat the orange before peeling it. You have your own bathroom, after all.

Rule 4) Floss

I’m not sure why this will prevent you from getting a cold, but you should floss anyway. Personal hygiene for the win.

Rule 5) Smile

You should smile. It is the holiday season after all, and now that you’ve flossed, someone might smile back at you. Imagine that.

Smiling makes you happier and healthier. I have not done any doctoral research on that subject (or on any subject), but you’re hypnotized, and I like to see smiles, so you should smile.

Rule 6) Learn to count past six

Mental exercise is important, as is physical exercise, so why don’t you learn to count past six while hula hooping? Don’t multi-task too much, though, for side effects include unnecessary stress.

In fact, trying to do too much at once will prevent you from learning well. It might also make you crash because distracted driving is the new drunk driving.

Rule 7) Like the Observer on Facebook

Rule 8) Delete your Facebook account. It’s poisonous.

Rule 9) Don’t actually delete it because then you won’t see when I annoyingly post this column.

Rule 10) There needs to be a 10th rule because having nine rules is awkward.

I kind of like awkward, though. Awkward could be good for your health. If I ever do perform doctoral research, it will be on the health benefits of awkwardness. More to come on that later.

Rule n) Follow these rules

Rule n+1) Do not follow these rules

Have a great break instead.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Erin Thomassen

I am a freshman double majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and French. PLS (aka the Notre Dame Book Club) is the history of ideas through literature, philosophy, math and science. It was the perfect major for me, because I couldn't possibly choose one subject and hurt the other subjects' feelings. French was also a natural pick, since I have been prancing around my house under the pretense of performing ballet for eighteen years. If someone asks me what I do in my free time, I will tell them that I run and read. What I actually do is eat cartons of strawberries and knit lumpy scarves. If you give me fresh fruit, we will be friends. If we become friends, I will knit you a scarf for Christmas. It may be lumpy, but it will be in your favorite color. And if enough people become my friend, lumpy scarves might just become a trend.

Contact Erin