7 Reasons That Hay Fever Sucks
I don’t know what I was thinking when I named this piece 7 Reasons That Hay Fever Sucks. I’m not an American teenager, I’m a grown Englishman. If you could kindly imagine it says 7 Reasons That It Is Most Disadvantageous To Be Afflicted With Hay Fever or 7 Reasons That I Find Hay Fever To Be A Bothersome Nuisance at the top of the page, I’d be much obliged.
1. It’s Crap. Fever is an emotive word redolent of all sorts of epic maladies and high emotions. The statement: he has cabin fever tells you that he is gripped by claustrophobia and that he is potentially a crazed or deranged madman who could snap at any moment. The statement: she has World Cup fever tells you that she is in the thrall of one of the world’s great sporting events and is probably in a joyous state of prodigious excitement. The statement: he has hay fever tells you that he is mildly irritated by flora and is prone to snivelling, some welling up of the eyes and occasional bouts of moaning; he probably carries a pocket-pack of tissues. Hay is the least impressive of all the fevers.*
2. Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place But With Dishonesty, Mean-Spiritedness And The Disgusting And Unwanted Exchange Of Bodily Fluids Replacing The Aforementioned Rocks And Hard Places. I have found that the most efficacious method of relieving my symptoms is Beconase, which is applied by inserting a tube nasally, and spraying. This leads to problems. When friends or relatives start feeling their own hay fever symptoms they often – not unreasonably – enquire, “Do you have any hay fever medicine on you?” The question is always suffixed by this sound. There are two possible answers to this question. Yes or No. If my response is “No”, it would be a lie, and lying is wrong (unless her bum looks big in it). If my response is “Yes”, I either have to refuse to allow the hay fever-medicine-less person the use of my nasal-spray on the grounds that exchanging snot with them would be disgusting, which would make me appear mean, or I can allow them to use it which, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, is disgusting. Three choices: Lying, meanness or abhorrence. Hay fever is a minefield.
3. The Inexorable Breakdown Of Civil Domestic Relations. My wife also suffers from hay fever. This is what the average summer evening sounds like in our house:
“Achoo!” “Bless you.” “Thank you.”
“Achoo!” “Bless you.” “Achoo!” “Bless you” “Achoo!” “Bless you.” “Thank you”
“Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!” “Bless you. Bless you. Bless you.” “Thank you”
“Achoo!…Oi!” “Bless you.” “Thank you.”
“Achoo!” “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!”
4. Hay Fever Is Sneaky. Like the Spanish inquisition, traffic wardens, or the urge to use the word macaroon, hay fever always strikes when you least expect it. I didn’t suffer from it at all until I got into my thirties, and now I do. If you don’t suffer from hay fever now, assume nothing, because you might tomorrow. And that will make you feel awful and me feel slightly better. Mostly because of my hay-fever-induced meanness.
5. Other People’s Hay Fever Is Annoying Too. I may be mean, but I try to be polite. That’s how I was brought up. I hold doors open for people and I always walk on the outside of a pavement when accompanying a lady (so that a carriage won’t splash mud on her brocaded overskirts, or in case she faints on being startled by a ruffian or a horse). I also say “bless you” when people sneeze, and when I say it to strangers they often look at me as if I were making a lewd proposition to their grandmother or threatening to kick their cat. If you want strangers to glare contemptuously at you, bless them. For some reason they hate it.
6. Dribbling. Dribbling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The sight of Cristiano Ronaldo or Pedro Rodriguez dribbling a football is a joy to behold. I dribble too. The sight of me dribbling is less of a visual treat though. I dribble salt-water out of my stinging eyes and snot out of my nose all bloody summer. I turn up at all manner of social occasions and make a striking first-impression with red-ringed eyes, tear-streaked cheeks, a nose that won’t stop running and a fast-diminishing supply of tissues. Have hay fever: Will dribble. Have dribble: Will look disgusting. Look disgusting: Will repel people. Repel people: Will find that there’s no queue at the bar and that you don’t have to buy anyone a drink. Find that there’s no queue at the bar and that you don’t have to buy anyone a drink: Realise that everything has an upside (even dribble).
7. Wahey Fever! A couple of years ago, I justified a sneezing fit to a friend in a pub by saying, “Hay fever”. A stranger at the next table overheard me and enthusiastically replied, “Wahey fever!” before laughing uproariously for a very long time. This still annoys me.
*The statement: she has Night Fever tells you that she is in possession of a very fine Bee Gees single. Or that she is in the throes of an unshakeable urge to boogie. I realise that I’m getting carried away with the fever-statements now. I think I may have fever-statement fever.**
**The statement: he has fever-statement fever tells you that he is afflicted with some sort of typing mania and is still making words appear on the page long after he should have stopped writing and gone to the pub. Stop now man, you’ve written enough. Stop. Stop!