Who gets sick over winter break? Oh wait, me… but it’s Delaware’s fault!

Two weeks ago, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. No big deal, I thought. People get colds all the time. This was on Monday.

By Tuesday, I was running a fever and was pretty sure I was going to die. But again, I figured it was just a cold and that I could tough it out until the end of the week, then take winter break to recover. I’m not a big fan of using my sick days unless Bruce is touring, at which point I tend to come down with a mysterious ailment that flares up whenever he’s playing anywhere on the East coast, clears up at the end of the tour, and returns as soon as a new tour starts.

Unfortunately, Bruce wasn’t touring and it wasn’t a cold. I had contracted the dreaded flu.

Which makes ZERO sense, because I got a flu shot.

Of course, I get a flu shot every year, and it makes no difference, because I seem to get the flu every year.

My uncle (an ER doctor) told me that the reason for this is that the flu vaccine only contains the most common strains of that year’s flu, so it’s not uncommon to get the flu even after getting a flu shot.

But I’m not buying that explanation. I know the truth.

Well, okay, I don’t KNOW the truth. But I have several very plausible conspiracy theories that make better explanations.

Theory #1: It’s a plot on the part of my students to punish me for assigning them a research paper on Huck Finn. I don’t think they actually have their acts together enough to perpetrate germ warfare terrorism on this level, but when I thought about what group of people had the strongest reason to want to punish me, my students ranked high on the list. And it wouldn’t be all that hard for them to do. They’d just have to find sick people and get them to sneeze on their papers. I then handle the papers and boom! I’m sick. But kids, if it WAS you, please remember that I HAD to give you that paper. The county says so. Trust me, I’d rather write one Huck Finn paper than grade sixty of them! It’s not me you should be punishing!

Theory #2: Montgomery County has figured out that the majority of my absences coincide with Springsteen tour dates and decided to make sure that I got sick during a break so that I couldn’t use the break for anything fun. Basically they could do it the same way the kids could: infect a paper then give it to me as a memo or something. Again, unlikely, however, because I doubt the county has time to check my absences against Bruce’s tour schedule. And I’m 99 percent sure that if they can’t afford to give us raises, they’re not funding germ warfare.

Theory #3: Government Conspiracy A. This one really only applies if a lot of other teachers had the flu over break too, which I’ll find out today and get back to you on. Because what if the flu shot doesn’t REALLY do anything, and you need to GET the flu to be immune to this strain of it? I could see them infecting all the teachers during a break when we’re already going to be home and therefore saving money on substitute teachers. Think about it. It’s actually a smart plan!

Theory #4: Government Conspiracy B: The government is responsible for spreading the rumor that the flu shot makes you sick because they don’t actually have enough to inoculate everyone who would get it otherwise, and when they read my blog post about the flu shot NOT getting you sick, they realized I had to be stopped, so they infected me to keep me from blogging (which was actually quite effective for those couple weeks if that IS the case).

Theory #5: It’s Delaware’s fault. Right before I got sick, I went to New Jersey for a concert. Now I KNOW New Jersey didn’t get me sick, because I love New Jersey. I mean, if I’d been in Seaside Heights and contracted an STD, then it’d be a Jersey Shore thing, but I’m pretty sure Asbury Park isn’t spreading diseases. But I DID have to drive through Delaware to get to New Jersey. And stupid me, I stopped at the rest stop there to go to the bathroom and get gas. Which means that if Delaware WAS trying to silence me because of my blog about how much I hate their state, they definitely had the opportunity.

My best guess? Theory #5. Because when in doubt, I choose to blame Delaware. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the South Park movie would have been FAR more successful if the song was “Blame Delaware” instead of “Blame Canada.” Just to be safe, next time I head North, I’m keeping my windows tightly up and not stopping until I’m safely out of the state. I’m onto you Delaware, you’re not going to get ME sick again!

Two weeks later, I’m finally feeling mostly better. But I WILL find a way to retaliate Delaware. You’d better start sleeping with one eye open.

Just saying.

Does the flu shot make you sick? Was Mr. Ed a zebra? Snopes knows the answers!

Yesterday, I ventured into the CVS Minute Clinic to get a flu shot. While I won’t bore you with the specifics (like how it never actually takes a minute and I always feel like the other people sitting there waiting are riddled with diseases that they’re just dying to spread to me), it was overall a relatively painless procedure.

What wasn’t painless, however, was TELLING people that I was going to get a flu shot after school.

Because it seems that 99.9999 percent of the population still thinks that you get the flu when you get a flu shot. And trying to tell the flu shot disparagers that that’s an urban legend is pointless. Because they all either think it happened to them or they think it happened to someone they know.

It didn’t.

That theory doesn’t even make sense. By that logic, when you get the smallpox vaccine, you’d get smallpox. And smallpox has been eradicated. (For the vocabulary-challenged people out there, that means smallpox has gone bye-bye. Forever.)

But telling people that the flu shot doesn’t give you the flu is an utterly lost cause. So instead, I direct them to one of my two favorite websites in the world: http://www.snopes.com/.

Snopes is the urban legend website, and it is truly one of the best things that the internet has brought us (primarily because I firmly believe that Facebook and Twitter are ruining the world, but I’ll talk about that another day).

I could literally spend days on Snopes. It has everything under the sun on there and is WAY more reliable than Wikipedia (because I can’t edit it to say that I’m married to Bruce Springsteen like I can on Wikipedia… which I do once a year to show my journalism kids that you can’t trust Wikipedia. Sorry, Patti. I DO always change it back immediately though. And I only vandalize Wikipedia for educational purposes!)

Get a sappy email about a kid with cancer who needs your help? Look it up on Snopes. It’s fake. Get one warning you about gang members killing people who flash their brights on the highway? Fake. Snopes says so. Alligators in the sewers? Nope. Never happened. Find a picture of a ridiculously giant catfish that you KNOW is photoshopped?

Guess what? It’s REAL! It just wasn’t found where the email says it was. But literally. That fish IS that big. Scary stuff! (Although after seeing that picture, no one is ever going to doubt that guy’s penis size. Just saying…)

I use Snopes constantly to prove people wrong. Mostly because I have a horrible habit of not letting something go when I know I’m right. (What can I say? I hate ignorance. It’s probably why I’m a teacher.) It’s how I tried to prove to my brother that Walt Disney is NOT actually cryogenically frozen (although he still doesn’t believe me. Apparently there’s no amount of proof on the planet that will convince him that Walt Disney’s head isn’t in a freezer somewhere).

But I think my favorite thing about Snopes isn’t the fact that it lets me show off my superior knowledge and research skills every time my grandma sends me an email warning me about something that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of hers that I desperately NEED to watch out for.

My favorite thing is the “Lost Legends” section. If you haven’t played on this site, go check that part out before you read further. I’ll wait.

Seriously. Go look at the Mr. Ed one. Did you know he was actually a zebra?

I know, it sounds nuts. But Snopes has the inside scoop.  It had something to do with the early black and white filming process.

Don’t read further until you’ve looked at that.

Spoilers are coming.

You’ve been warned.

No, Mr. Ed wasn’t a zebra! How dumb do you feel if you believed that? I mean, come on, a zebra? REALLY?

But Sara, Snopes said it and you said they know everything! That’s not fair.

That’s the whole reason I love Snopes. All of the “Lost Legends” are fake. There’s a full explanation here, but the basic gist of it is that the creators of Snopes are trying to make the point that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Did you learn your lesson? I mean, Snopes is legit, but did you REALLY, even for a MINUTE, think that Mr. Ed was a zebra? Gullible much?

There is, however, one website that is better than Snopes. There are some that are ALMOST as good (like www.venganza.org/, which is the official website for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Love it!), but only ONE website is actually better.


I’m talking about http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/.

BEST. WEBSITE. EVER. EVER! (Yes, that one had to go in a bigger font. Just to make sure you understand the awesomeness of Cats That Look Like Hitler.)

First of all, the fact that anyone even came up with this site is genius. Second, look at the cats! They actually LOOK LIKE HITLER! Which helps to prove my theory that cats are evil, anti-Semitic, and out to destroy the world. But really, I could look at this site over and over and over again.

But this site actually proves something that even Snopes couldn’t disprove (because it turns out to be true). Cats are wrong. Hitler is wrong. But when you combine those two particular wrongs, they create something SO right.

Because no matter how much I hate cats, I just can’t hate them when they look like Hitler. And they do. A lot.

Catsthatlooklikehitler.com = genius. Pure and simple. If you’re the person who created it, call me. I think we should be friends. Partially because I have a dog that looks like Einstein. But mostly because your site is my favorite thing on the internet.

Well, okay, that’s not ENTIRELY true. It’s my favorite website.

My favorite thing on the internet is this video.

Cats That Look Like Hitler come in a close second though. And Snopes is third.