Students and Their Cooties, and I’m not in Love with a McDonald’s Girl

‘Tis the beginning of the season in which multiple sick students come to class.  I’ve not found myself too distracted so far by the coughing and sniffling.  But I couldn’t help but notice it during the midterm exam Wednesday night.  We had a Norwalk outbreak in a res a few years back and ever since then I have had a certain consciousness of the potential for the spread of illness at school.  I’m especially conscious of it in the washroom across the hall from the classroom where I do all my teaching this year which I use to wash chalk off my hands and in which I have to fill my water glass, as well as use for its obvious purposes.  If I’m gunna catch cold, there can’t be many places better as a source than this.

With all that in mind, I took a couple of small bottles of hand sanitizer to school.  Standing in my office about to apply some, I half jokingly offered some to a colleague who passed by and he readily accepted.  So we had what I thought was an amusing sort of communion before our freshman classes.

I don’t think I’m becoming increasingly obsessed, four-horsemen- or Howard Hughes-like, with pestilence, but since the SARS outbreak, or at least since Bird Flu was news, I’ve thought a lot about the effects of epidemics socities and civilizations.  I recall Michael Capper telling me about a talk he’d heard in India by an epidemiologist who spoke about the inevitability of a major outbreak in India which would solve India’s population woes, but also seriously smack its economic growth and advancement (and all a little too Malthusian in tone I thought at the time).

Of course, I’m also thinking about food safety these days.  I don’t think I’ve eaten coldcuts in 6 months and don’t know if I’ll ever be able to again.  Lol, the SO (Significant Other, for the benefit of RF) and I were oot and aboot Sunday and decided to have fast food.  We made a conscious decision not to eat at the Home Depot Harvey’s since the business in North Bay.  What was the joke I heard?  “Harvey’s Makes Your Hamburger a Bull Fecal Thing?”  (I’m willing to bet its source is the condiments and that in future you won’t have those spooned onto your burgers – we don’t eat the Costco hotdog anymore, cuz we were awfully close to food-poisoned last time and I blame it on the communal relish etc.)  So anyway, we went to the recently renovated McDooies.  And the place was an absolute fucking sty.  It was so bad that a fella talked to the manager (who was kinda snotty with him and gave the totally wrong response of ‘we were too busy to clean up’); he took a bunch of pix with his cellphone.  I told him I was going to dash off an email when I got home.  I didn’t because, oddly enough, the McD’s website doesn’t provide an addy.  Nor does it give a toll-free number.  So, I guess I’ll end this here and go make the long distance call and I honestly hope it contributes to the unemployment of Manager Jess and maybe a couple of the kids on shift (and it was just kids working and not +50 year-old women as on weekdays – coincidence, I think not).



  1. jackrroo said

    I called head office and this morn I heard from Local McDonald’s OM er GM er PR Brenda. Funny, I don’t often talk to women who are Sarah Palin er saleswoman sorts. And of course, what’s the only form of compensation, redress or atonement they can offer? Gift certificates!

  2. jackrroo said

    Today the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit released its final report on the E. coli outbreak at the Harvey’s.

    So what do I know?

  3. jackrroo said

    And now that we’re in the age of Swine Flu, everybuddy is worried about cooties, students’ and otherwise. And over the summer, the college and the greater U installed hand-sanitizing units all over the place. I’m slowly developing the habit of employing them whenever I pass by one. (I’m the only one who thinks that the hand-sanitizer at te college smells like vodka.) Anyway, the development of the habit is also makng me increasingly afraid of the germs others are carrying around. This only getting worse with all the briefing I’ve been getting on university policy about Swine Flu and any possible epidemic.

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