Pandemics aside, during winter my workplace becomes a seething mass of germs and the inhabitants are divided into two camps: the martyrs and the prophets.
The martyrs could be at death's door and yet they will still drag themselves wheezing and dripping to their workstations where they stare blankly at their assignments and overdose on sugary fake hot lemon drinks.
If you suggest that maybe they should be at home in bed or possibly calling a priest for a dry run of their last rites, they wave a pendulous tissue and rasp something about people depending on them and the pain not being that bad.
The prophets are of the fire and brimstone variety with blazing eyes and saliva flecking from their lips as they roar and pontificate that maybe if people stayed home when they were effing sick we wouldn't all effing get it and it wouldn't keep going around and effing around all effing season.
Whilst the martyrs are in nearly every day getting almost nothing done in their feverish haze, the prophets follow an almost uncanny week-on, week-off schedule as they power through their uninfected days and then retire to convalesce when the miasma overtakes them.
The output of the two camps is roughly equal, the suffering is relative.
Personally, I take strategic sick days when my body so demands and double my intake of garlic for the duration of the conflict which has the following three benefits:
- Garlic - it's effing delicious.
- It is said to boost your immune system and even if some of the effect is psychosomatic it is a tasty placebo.
- Everyone mysteriously seems to maintain a steady distance. I like to call it 'the exclusion zone'.
Martyrs don't dig the metal.