No, it’s not COVID

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been engaged in a WWE cage match against allergies. No, it’s not COVID. I promise, it’s not COVID. Really, even when I blow my nose so loudly that it triggers nearby home and car alarm systems, it’s still not COVID.

It’s pretty sad that I feel obliged to defend my old-fashioned sinus “crud” against false assumptions, but it is what it is these days as news networks are constantly broadcasting some newly-recommended but recently-reversed, rescinded, revised, reconsidered and resurrected COVID protocol to defend against the latest sub-variant that’s filling in while all the regular variants are on vacation in Cancún.

Seriously, though, I get this same sinus ailment every year in late spring. It’s sort of a tradition. Maybe I should start buying it a gift and taking it out to dinner. My three teenage daughters would argue that I should buy them gifts for putting up with me when I’m in full-blown man-flu mode with Kleenex dangling from both nostrils when I greet their boyfriends at the door.

Just the other day, my youngest daughter reminded me to cough into the inside of my elbow­–rather than directly onto her iPhone screen when I confiscate it after she’s reached her daily 12-hour limit of YouTube videos. Who came up with that hygiene strategy, anyway? Certainly not the inside of my elbow. In fact, the inside of my elbow has considered lodging a formal protest with the CDC, suggesting that coughing and sneezing into the inside of the knee would be far more sanitary–and promote Kegel stretching.

I suppose the responsible thing to do would be to drag out one of my crusty, retired masks while I have this cold, but since I have to blow my nose about once every ten seconds, it would be like wearing pants part-time, which sort of defeats the purpose. Besides, I have my sense of fashion to think about, and face masks are so last surge!

The cause of this yearly sinus malady, other than the fact that my nose is roughly the size of a standard 100-watt light bulb, is mostly geographical. Those of us who live in the heavily-forested East Texas Piney Woods can only stand by helplessly as our aroused foliage engages in a shocking public display of unprotected relations every spring, the result of which is a yellow pollen plague of biblical proportions. This powdery menace coats every car, creeps into every crevice, and occupies every orifice–especially mine.

My allergy attack always begins with my throat feeling like I tried to swallow my wife’s shower loofah thingy (that I may or may not use to exfoliate my armpits). It then progresses to my head, which transforms into a fully-inflated Violet Beauregarde after she chewed Willy Wonka’s magic gum. And throughout the entire ordeal, I cough and hack like a toddler trying his first cigar.

Despite the symptoms, though, there are a couple of benefits to having “the crud.” First, my raspy voice takes on a sultry and ultra-masculine tone, and I sound like the love child of Barry White and Tone Loc, making my hymn singing in church especially soulful and funky. And then there’s the sympathy I get from my caring wife, who insists that I avoid working too hard and get plenty of sleep, which happen to be two of my main goals in life.

Because this year’s allergies developed into a sinus infection, my doctor prescribed a round of powerful antibiotics, which have basically turned my bowels into active lava tubes, but at least they’ve changed the subject.

Yes, I’m confident that good nasal health is just over the horizon as sure as our pollen-plagued East Texas spring turns into a blistering, humid summer – and we all seriously consider wearing pants part-time.

Copyright 2022 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].