I have a house guest. I call him Germ.
I’m not sure who invited him. I’m not even sure “he” is a “him”. A “what” or an “it”, maybe. So I call him Germ. The name Germ, while curt, is at the very least neutral. I suppose I could ask Germ what he/she/it prefers to be called, but I don’t wish to get any closer than we already are. I’ll be civil, but I refuse to be gracious.
Germ’s not a very good house guest. Someone wiser than me once quipped that house guests, like fish, start to smell after three days. I wish Germ would take the hint. He just lies around, getting up my nose, giving me headaches, and just generally being a pain in my side. You’d think that, after being around for so long Germ would try to be useful, but he has yet to figure out how to work the washing machine.
It’s not like I haven’t tried to shift Germ out the door. Oh no. Germ’s a stubborn little bugger. I’m sure he didn’t much like the dose of medicine I gave him this morning after I woke up feeling as if Germ had parked a truck on my chest. Instead of high-tailing it, he’s been quietly lurking in my pleural spaces. Last night I felt him spelunking in my sinuses. Tomorrow, I’m guessing, he’ll be back to looking for a parking spot. I hope the car’s smaller this time.
And you know, he’s not even a faithful guest. I think Germ’s been crashing on couches all over this city. I know for a fact that Germ has been dallying with my boss. If I wasn’t so tired I’d be really annoyed at how callous and ill-mannered Germ can be. If I consider how many people I know who have had a run-in with Germ over the last month — my husband, my mother, my father, my sister, her kids — well, it’s kind of creepy when you think of it. I keep wondering how I can exploit Germ’s weakness– this possessiveness — but my head hurts too much right now to try. At least Germ’s been nice to my kids. Well, Germ’s actually ignored my kids, but like Beetlejuice, I’m afraid that if I say that out loud…oh, you know…
So Germ, if you’re out there (and I know you are): It’s time. Move on. You’ve had your fun. But I’m done. Go pick on someone your own size for a while, okay?