There are two problems with the flu, and the first is that it f**king sucks. There’s being Normal-Level Sick, with its sniffles and sore throats and headaches, and there’s feeling like your face is underneath the left flank of 1987-era Big John Studd for five days while the children in your house continue to thoughtlessly do things like “ask you for dinner.” The second thing is that avoiding the flu is damn near impossible without employing a flotilla of fairly unpleasant techniques, many of which conspire to make you look less like a grownup attempting to retain his health and more like a fragile porcelain mouse figurine from your grandma’s curio cabinet. Because we at The Loop hate illness but like to maintain a façade of external coolness (look, we’re very needy), here are a few ways you can avoid the flu like a damn man:
Only touch subway poles or stairway handrails while wearing appropriate gear: That appropriate gear is a full set of Tower of London-era chain mail. Or goalie gloves. Or those giant foam We’re No. 1 fingers you get at baseball stadiums/NASCAR races/cool churches. Just make sure your precious precious hands aren’t remotely near those metallic adhesive germ farms, which have been touched and/or licked by God knows how many people who don’t wash their hands after they pee. (Seriously, count how many people just walk out of bathrooms the next time you’re at a ballgame, people are f**king disgusting.) If you do not have chain mail for some reason, just slip Ziploc baggies over your hands. The one-gallon bags are big enough for most people, unless of course you’re Donald Trump, then they’re pathetically huge.
Get a flu shot, but only after dressing like a meaty badass: Nobody likes getting shots, especially, I am told, people who can’t even watch their own blood draws without seeing fuzzy little cartoons appearing in their peripheral vision and the feeling cruel taste of impending vomit inching up their throats, I mean hypothetically, I heard like this dude had that happen to him once. But no matter what you have heard from your homeopathic friends/whatever slush-brained dummy on your Facebook still posts about vaccines and autism, flu shots are GOOD and they WORK because SCIENCE DID THEM. (And no it’s not too late to get them, that’s like saying, “I’d quit smoking but, you know, it’s already February.”) The clear answer: Get a flu shot after rolling up in a large Ford F-150 and wearing a Big Dick Nick t-shirt and, I don’t know, playing the first Black Sabbath album? Whatever floats your boat, man.
Sneeze into your sleeve, instead of your hand: Children call this the “vampire sneeze,” because it looks like you’re darkly vanishing into the folds of your Transylvanian velvet cape. We just call it “not sneezing on the objects you use to touch forks and other people.” But if you’re into vampires, man, you do you.
Develop a plan for using Purell: There is nothing less manly than squirting a burst of goo on your hands in public (Ed. note: insert joke about Republican congressmen or Penn State later), but there is also nothing more effective than a scientifically-approved compound that obliterates all the bacteria on the skin of whoever’s hands you just shook. So if you’re using Purell — and, listen, our office is full of it, we even hide it inside our Masters coozies — just sneak it into a pocket or laptop bag or in a desk, and, when no one’s looking, engage in a smelly little burst of germ murder. Yes, it leaves your hands feeling like slices of ham that have been left for two weeks on the surface of the sun, but you can fix that with lotion, which… jeez, also involves squirting goo on your hands.
Every now and again, spray the house with Lysol: And by “every now and again,” we mean walk around slowly while letting that shit rain down while you keep a finger right on the SPRAY button. Don’t forget the toilets and remote controls and pillows and carpets and doorknobs and laundry room and every single last one of the Legos.
Under no circumstances visit a kindergarten: Actually, just avoid children entirely. And for the love of God don’t pick up any phones or video-game controllers they’ve been using, those things are basically tide pools of mucus.
Listen, just do whatever you have to, the flu sucks: You know what, forget it: There’s nothing manly about shivering under a Christmas quilt watching HGTV for four days. Whatever you can do to avoid the flu, do it. You can resume being manly once spring training and/or the NCAA tournament starts.