Airborne. Most of us know it. Some of us question whether it works. Others swear by it. I’m not sure which camp I fall in to, but the company that makes it does a really good job preying on those of us who believe that spending $6 or so for a package of it will allow you to avoid illness. Same thing goes for Purell which ironically I’m not a big believer in.
The strange thing with these products is that you don’t see people on relief missions in post-conflict areas using them religiously (I assume they use things that actually work); you see people in offices using them. It all relays the fact that people in offices are terrified of getting sick and not being able to work, when in reality, if they really wanted to avoid illness, then they should avoid the stress of being in the office 12 hours a day. Anyways, this is just an American attitude towards work and social interaction to which I am digressing.
The reason I bring all of this up is because at The Sometimes Office, I wasn’t feeling so well one day, so I popped an Airborne, leaving the tube of the pills on my desk when I was done. The reaction from those who came up to me was unanimous. They started talking, glanced down, and then jumped back once they saw the Airborne Tube (or Tube of Doom as I call it.) “Oh, um… are you sick?” “Maybe.” “Okay, I’ll stay back.” This is a pretty funny thing to say since A) Most cold germs aren’t spread through the air (making the name ‘airborne’ even funnier) and B) If they were spread through the air, then the closed ventilation system has got you hosed.
Working in computers and office environments, I’ve found that it is true you catch colds and flus through contact, specifically computer keyboards and mice. Those things are crawling with germs in their plastic depths. Having one or two stints in Information Technology, I realized that I caught everything that anyone had in the office because I would have to get on their keyboards. The only upside was that because I couldn’t ever call in sick (not enough staff to do that), I would come in and spread viruses from one computer to another. Calling me Patient Zero or The Carrier would be a bit of an understatement. Did I try Purell? Yup, as well as sanitizing baby wipes. Didn’t matter. Those little germs are quite resilient buggers and are built to spread.
Now that I’ve refocused on web development again for the last couple of years, I get sick a lot less because I’m on one machine. There are lessons to be learned in this:
- don’t do IT
- do web work
- Airborne probably doesn’t work
- A Tube of Doom on your desk is more effective that the “George Frown”
- Purell really doesn’t work
- Go to Mediterranean often