2018-01-12 / Commentary

Science says I can be a wimp...guilt free

40–Something

Many years ago, one of my uncles on my father’s side got caught releasing a wall rattling, nasal destroying bodily function of the lower region. When my aunt looked at him in total disgust, he gave her his best puppy-dog face and whimpered, “I’ve been sick.”

My aunt’s maternal instincts and the sheer pitifulness of her husband disarmed her, and she let him off the hook. In fact, she offered him some chicken noodle soup and told him to go back to bed.

It didn’t matter that she was recovering from the same cold. It seemed to hit him harder. So she felt sorry for him...no matter how disgusting or immaterial his complete lack of couth was to a nasty case of the sniffles. Besides, she didn’t have time to wallow in her own misery, much less his.

He could lie in bed moaning and sucking down Nyquil all day, but she had to get the kids to school, go to work, take care of the house, feed everyone, and complete the 15,000 other things that always made up her day. Some coughing and sneezing weren’t going to slow her down.

That’s what women do. They power through, while the men find a comfy spot on the couch with the remote control and a box of Advil Cold and Sinus.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but I’m not one of them.

I gleefully use my uncle’s excuse whenever I can. It was pure genius. However, thanks to some mice in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, I don’t need my uncle’s words of wisdom anymore. I can splay out on my bed guilt free whining through a cloud of sneezes and tissues while my wife mows the front yard with a 102-degree fever.

Why? Because the mice featured in this journal’s study were exposed to bacteria that causes flu-like symptoms and guess what? Scientists discovered the symptoms hit the male mice harder. They had worse fevers, more signs of inflammation, and took longer to recover than the females. They also left the seat up, scratched inappropriately, and laughed anytime someone said the word “flatulence,” but that’s not important.

What is important is that the next time the little missus and I get sick at the same time, my rodent brethren have given me a far better excuse to be a wimp than my uncle ever did. Now I don’t just have a cry for sympathy; I’ve got science! It’s official...Men get hit harder by colds than women.

I am choosing to ignore the asterisk that states, “Studies completed on lab animals do not necessarily apply to humans.”

I mean, if that’s the case, then why do the study at all?

I have to believe those scientists wanted to get more out of this experiment than a YouTube video of a mouse sneezing. I know they (at least the male ones) wanted to relieve me and men like me of all the guilt and dirty looks we get when we’re wallowing in bed with the sniffles while the wives are doing yard work with the flu.

If you think I’m wrong, then I’ve only got one thing to say to you...

I’ve been sick.

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