No one has ever accused me of being a hypochondriac. Quite the opposite. I once worked construction for three days with a sore leg before my wife made me go to the doctor. An X-ray revealed a fracture.
It wasn’t a bad one. No bones sticking out. Didn’t matter. The wife and the doctor diagnosed idiocy on the spot. I ended up in a cast.
I was supposed to wear the cast for 30 days, then go back to the doctor. But by Day 11, things had started to worsen.
During that time, a paper clip, two M&M’s, some loose change, a live .380 cartridge, and something wiggly had managed to work themselves down inside the cast. I was miserable — and desperate.
The wiggling stopped after a prolonged application of insecticide, but then it started to burn. So I cut off the cast with a drywall saw.
Injury is one thing. But I take illness seriously. Unless you’re in a bar fight, a riot or a battle, injury is not contagious. Illness is.
So when I passed a woman of Asian descent in the hall at church Sunday, and started feeling poorly an hour later, I knew that I had the coronavirus from China.
It had to be. It’s all over the news, having caused the death of dozens of people. Exactly how the disease is passed along is still being studied. Animals can carry it, including chickens, bats, snakes and rabbits.
OK, so my fears may have been irrational, but the point is that I wasn’t feeling well and therefore might have been contagious. And with the exception of three people at church whom I don’t like, I didn’t want to infect the rest of the congregation.
So, I locked the library and went home. I don’t know what the members did with the stuff they had checked out, but that wasn’t my problem. Keeping them safe was.
I don’t fully understand most things, but what’s really incomprehensible is going out in public when you know you might be contagious. People with snot leaking out of every hole in their skull still go to work, church, school and stores.
It’s true that we don’t always know when we’re contagious, which explains why my grandkids bring home various illnesses from the petri dishes that are their classrooms.
They get sick. The germs from their breath pass through the air ducts of our shared ventilation system and I get distemper or hives or whatever was on the curriculum that day.
It’s really simple: If you’re sick, stay home. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by bringing your crud to work and gifting it to everyone else.
Me? I felt better shortly after I got home. If you suspect that you have the China coronavirus, try Alka-Seltzer first.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.