Gesundheit by Deb Tish

Here’s what I hate about going to the movies. I’m always seated directly in front of the cougher. When I’m not seated directly in front of the cougher, I’m seated in front of the sneezer. And it does absolutely no good to listen for sounds of sniffing, throat clearing or Thera-Flu ingestion while I’m looking for a seat. A true theater-cougher will wait to reveal himself until after the curtain has gone up and your uncovered popcorn is within the dreaded three-foot mucosal range.

The very best seat in the house is the seat right behind the cougher. The bacteria will always blow forward and your odds of having a secondary microbial infestation directly behind you are slim to none. However, exactly how to locate this golden seat remains one of life’s greatest mysteries. I’ve often thought, with my abysmal track record, of settling myself in a seat, then getting up and moving two rows back. But I’ve never risked it.

So how does a girl who stocks her purse, her car, and her office with Purell hand sanitizer make it through an entire film during cold and flu season?

It all has to do with stealthy coat management.

1. Choose your outerwear wisely before leaving the house. A thick hood will provide a germ barrier that can only be likened to an N-95 mask. A stand-up collar will work almost as well, but I cannot guarantee full microbial blockage should the infected one happen to be long in the torso or neck.

2. Before sitting down, position your coat with the hood or collar creating a nice ridge along your seat back. Being ever the optimist, I tend to keep the collar or hood folded down–but ready–at this point.

3. When the cough occurs–and this is doubly important if the cough is gurgly and vile–it’s important to act quickly. You have precious few seconds to activate your blockade. In one motion, flip up your collar or hood and slide down in your seat, forming additional obstruction on the sides of your face. These side “blinders” may not be altogether necessary, but will be very convincing when you explain to the members in your party that you find the theater chilly. You’d be well-advised to throw in a few well-timed shivers at this point, lest you appear…socially unhinged.

You may walk out of the theater with a kinked neck and you’ll likely miss any subtitles, but, dear reader, you’ll have your health. And if, in spite of your best efforts, you stumble in your execution and feel the vile spray of respiratory secretions against the back of your shirt collar, despair not.

As best you can, try to enjoy the film, then get your soon-to-be-ailing body to the nearest bar for a nip of something strapping. Compensatory. You deserve it. And when you do come down with your benefactor’s bug, go straight to the theater and pick any seat you desire. You have no one to fear but yourself.

All I ask is that you save me the seat behind you.


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7 Replies to “Gesundheit by Deb Tish”

  1. Ohmigosh, this is plain freaky. Anxiety attacks, four-leaf clovers, and now germs? I, too, carry Purell, wipes, and tissues with me wherever I go. My poor children know to stick out their hands for a squirt after a trip out, though the one in third seat has her own supply of wipes back there. She drew the line, however, when I gave her toilet seat covers to keep in her purse. Poor lambs.


  2. My kids too! I make them keep a mini Purell in their desks. Even my husband knows to get Purelled after being in a mall. And a character in my latest novel does the same.

    Do you want to know something weirder? My family name is Mackinnon with a small k. But the last Mackinnon was a female, so now all the males on my dad’s side have Mackinnon as a middle name. We’re the ones on the back of the Drambuie bottle (which SO figures). Then my sister married a MacKinnon with a capital K.

    Too too funny!

  3. Does anyone else know that individuals with “k’s” in their first, last and even middle name are naturally attracted to each other? According to numerology, the letter “k” is a powerful force. Just an odd tidbit I picked up somewhere along the way.

  4. Oh, Tish, I was squirming just READING it! Gahhhh, I hate the coughers! Stay home for goodness sake, or muffle it with something, preferably an anti-microbial drenched pillow.

    So, Larramie, that means I’m, as a Kristy Kiernan, a REALLY powerful force? 🙂 Hoo, boy, I’ll never be stopped now!

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