Some of you may know this about me already: I have a fondness for drinking wine. There, I said it. But did you know that engaging in this risky behavior can lead to contracting the dreaded S’wine flu, that wine-borne illness that you are hearing so much about in the news lately? It’s true. Someday I’ll tell the 4.2 of you reading this more about this risk-taking aspect of my personality, but for now, let me just say that like any addictive, inebriating substance, wine and all other forms of alcohol should be sipped, imbibed, guzzled, ingested, or otherwise enjoyed with caution and a modicum of restraint. In other words, don’t follow my lead. Because it is excess like this that can lead to contracting the deadly S’wine flu. I know, because I am a survivor.
S’wine flu, it is generally agreed, is one of the many dangerous mutations falling under the umbrella of diseases known as Cocktail flu. Other strains falling under this heading include the milder Beer flu–it is mainly college-aged pussies who have not yet graduated to more potent stuff who are contracting this all over the place; they have no built-up immunity yet. Whiskey flu–while also dangerous, is not nearly as debilitating as a bad case of S’wine flu. Although that one time I caught a particular strain of Jack Daniels flu, I thought I would die. The symptoms are similar, but it is the intensity of S’wine flu’s symptoms–the severe disorientation, dehydration, nausea, vertigo, and perceived inablility to attend your daughter’s pre-graduation baccalaureate ceremony the next day–that should lead one to avoid contracting this at all costs.
As with Cocktail flu, the main symptom is the all-encompassing, generic “hangover.” Claiming to be suffering from a hangover is pretty vague, and you can’t use it as an excuse to call in sick from work. It’s just not good form. If you are looking for the best excuse to effectively call in sick when you’ve partied too hard but don’t want anyone to know it, you’ve got to go with diarrhea. Seriously, diarrhea is best. And don’t be coy about it. No one will question your sincerity because really, who would give up this information willingly? If you are too uncomfortable using this word, you can always blurt this out when your boss asks you what’s wrong: just say, “Soupy poopies, soupy poopies!” By then your employer will have hung up on you, and you, my friend, have earned the day off.
The last time I came down with S’wine flu, it was a particularly virulent case. It was at my college reunion that I became infected, and I have never been sicker. A combination of circumstances and poor choices on my part rendered me particularly vulnerable that evening. The first of which was a complete lack of common sense, stemming from this simple fact (in case you missed it): I was at my college reunion.
So, with all the fear and misinformation about S’wine flu out there, and in the spirit of calming the general populace, I offer to you, as a public service, some important information about how to avoid this deadly disease:
Know what you are drinking
I engaged in the following risky behaviors that led to my illness: I drank two vodka and tonics in quick succession, trying to calm my nerves in readiness for all the people I would not recognize that night. The brand of vodka was unknown to me–this is an important point. Later, I switched to red wine, which is my usual choice if I’m going to “go the distance.” Problem was, I didn’t know what kind of wine it was. I remember it was red. I remember that vividly later. Plus, it didn’t go down easily, which is always a reliable indicator of problems to come. Lesson number 1: To avoid S’wine flu, know what you are drinking and be reasonably sure it is of good quality. I cannot stress this enough.
Make sure you are not “over-served”
As we get older, our poor boomer bodies can only tolerate so much abuse. One way we abuse our bodies, besides exercising, is allowing ourselves to be “over-served,” especially with less-than-prime quality alcohol or wine. If you are unfamiliar with this term, allow me to explain. When the person pouring the drinks continues to serve them to you even after you cannot correctly pronounce what it is you want, then you have been over-served. Can I say that? Yes. I think I can. At that particular reunion, I can categorically state that I had been over-served. It was the wine pourer’s lack of restraint that led to my contracting S’wine flu and he should have been held fully accountable for the consequences and repercussions that ensued from his total lack of judgment. If you ever attend a college reunion, make sure the bartender exercises some responsibility.
Be judicious about your surroundings
It is possible to pick up S’wine flu anywhere. It can happen in a bar, a party, or in your own home, but it can especially happen at college reunions that take place the night before your daughter’s pre-graduation, church-staged, baccalaureate ceremony. And that is where I found myself the next day, combating the ravages of this flu, trying not to succumb to its devastating power. With my stomach heaving and churning, wine-sweat pouring out of me, and a severe case of vertigo that rendered me unable to focus on how stupid this ceremony was, I began to pray mightily to the Virgin Mary (I figured I would try her first, as the church was named St. Mary’s). I prayed that if she would look down on me with pity and prevent me from hurling on the pew in front of me, if she would restore me to health right then and there, I would make her a solemn promise: I would NEVER drink . . . anything less than top-shelf liquor again. Let me tell you, it was touch and go there for a while. My stomach was pitching and rolling like a Somali pirate ship. But, before that service was over, I was healed. Completely. A true MIRACLE. I was restored to complete gastric health and perfect equilibrium. And I have never gone back on the promise I made in fervent prayer. At the reception following the ceremony, I ordered only the best: a Stella Artois beer. Yes I did.
So, to recap: S’wine flu is curable. I am proof of that. You will not die from it, although you think you might. Just follow these sensible precautions: 1.) Enjoy only superior-quality wines and alcoholic beverages–you’re just asking for trouble if you don’t. 2.) Do not allow yourself to be over-served. Insist that it is your bartender’s/ husband’s/date’s/friend’s/unknown creepy bystander’s responsibility to see to it that you don’t overindulge, thereby risking infection. 3.) And lastly, stay the fuck away from Mexico. There’s a lot of bad shit going on down there. Did you hear there’s some sort of pig-borne virus that’s dropping people like flies? Yeah, stay away from that.