The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

First Place in the Best "Very Short" Humor!
December 1999/January 2000 Contest

Who Knows What Evil Lurks
in our Nasal Passages?


Caroline Totten

One of the advantages of middle age is that I can admit to being afraid of certain things, which, as a yuppie, I had to endure politely. I will come right out and say what I mean. Germs.

For years I have concealed my chagrin when anyone near me sneezed.I'd say, "Gesundheit, " but I was thinking: Cover your mouth, you wretch!

Ever since biology class I've been wincing inwardly at any random sneeze or raspy cough. Whenever I ride a bus or a plane, my attempt to saunter down the aisle past the chorus of hacking has given in to the dread that germs are sticking to me like Crazy Glue. It's like playing Russian roulette. You never know which blast has your name on it.

Yesterday I took a direct hit. I should have seen it coming. When a neighbor dropped her child off for me to baby–sit, she said, "Karen has a little cold, but it's nothing to worry about. "

Well, before long Karen wanted to sit in my lap. Then something triggered her pent–up sinuses, and oh, maybe 100,000 germs of unknown lineage hit me like lightning.

A sneeze, according to my theory, is the body's way of ejecting undesirable tenants. That afternoon, Karen's tenants moved into this old house.

Now I'm sitting in a steam room trying to boil my blood. It won't work, you say? They boil contaminated water, don't they?

©Caroline Trotten

Caroline Totten, a former humor columnist, has published nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in magazines, newspapers, and on the Net. She is listed in the American Directory of Poets and Fiction Writers, published by Poets and Writers, Inc. She lives in Canton, Ohio, the Football Hall of Fame City.

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©Margie Culbertson

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