Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Immune System is Bullshit

Our body's defenses against disease are laughable.

Consider the common cold. The virus tries to enter the body. The body responds by making your nose run. You might be talking to someone, perhaps in a formal setting, when you feel the unstoppable release of liquid from up inside your nostrils. Anything you do to halt its advance will be unattractive.

At the same time mucus is starting to flow, said membranes begin to hurt. The pain may actually lead the runny nose by hours. It serves no purpose except to warn you that you are about to go through a week or two of misery.

Perhaps you will sneeze. As pleasant as this is, it does exactly nothing to halt the progress of worse symptoms. You're only doing the disease a favor by ejecting it out toward other victims. Or you could try to capture that wet blast in a tissue or handkerchief, to the general nauseation of anyone who has to see you do it. Then you must find a place to dispose of your prize. If you have no catcher's mitt handy, you get to blow that mess into your sleeve, or lean away from anyone else and fire it toward the floor. Good luck with that.

Along comes the tickle in your throat to provoke more room-clearing sounds. And this cough -- you guessed it -- can go on until you are doubled up with your vision blacked out, without relieving the jabbing little claws of whatever viral invader is trying to consume your flesh.

On goes the illness through the low-grade fever, light-headedness, broken sleep, sore throat, congestion, all of which we are told is our body fighting off disease. Fighting it off? Throwing wide the gates and letting it make free with the food, wine, artwork and young women of the town, more like.

You call these defenses? As the owner of a human body, I am not satisfied. If you want to call an immune system good, I want it to kill off the invading bug with the least fuss, in the shortest amount of time, preferably just a few minutes. No hacking, wheezing, snorting, sniffling, bowl-hugging or porcelain-riding. Do your damn job. Our immune systems resist disease the way a veteran politician resists the blandishments of a powerful lobbyist. It's a token at best.

The best immune system is the one you never see working. Disease organisms just drop dead when they see it. No one gets one of those. If you're around people at all, one of them is bound to spooge you with something obnoxious eventually.

As you may have guessed, enough people finally hacked and spewed on me to give me the wretched, endless cold that almost everyone seems to be dragging with them this year. The fun has just begun. Snurfle. Honk. WaaaaCHOO!!

Immune system...yeah, right.

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