In which I am a topical invalid.

Printed 06/08/09.

I will do a lot for this column. You know that. I am tirelessly committed to the search for fresh, interesting subject matter, even when it involves great personal sacrifice or physical endurance. In the past, I have donated blood, started a fight with an OAP, and done a whole degree, just to give you lot entertaining things to read about with your Weetabix. But even I didn’t think I was as dedicated as this – yes folks, this week, in the noble name of journalism, I have had swine flu.

Things Swine Flu Has Taught Me

1. People don’t like to believe you really have it.

I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say, “Did you ACTUALLY have swine flu, or was it just normal flu?”. And I will say, “well, swine flu is the only strain of flu around at the moment.” Then you’re going to say, “Yeah but was it DEFINITELY swine flu, or did you just guess?”. And I will say, “Well nobody knows DEFINITELY, I just did the Tamiflu quiz and got the right answers. I’m licensed. I am not a flu fraud.” Then you will say, “Shouldn’t you be in bed, quietly groaning, not dancing to Katrina and the Waves and making a sandwich?” And I will cough in your face.

2. Even caring chemists will exploit invalids for money.

I am pretty susceptible to advertising at the best of times – i.e., when I don’t have a sky-high temperature or a little man playing steel drums inside my pre-frontal cortex. So when I staggered into the chemists to claim my Tamiflu, and they started waving loads of other medication in my feverish face, I was powerless to resist. “The Tamiflu will make you sick”, they say, “so you also need these anti-nausea tablets. Then if you take Ibuprofen, that will make you sicker. So you also need this soluble paracetamol.” “Ok, ok, whatever you say, medical healthcare professional. Here’s my debit card…” “Did I mention the Tamiflu can also cause nicotine addiction? So you really need to buy this Nicorette inhaler as well. And maybe this Lily of the Valley bath set, just to be sure.”

3. Tamiflu is the drug of the devil.

One of my proudest achievements in life, one that I’d actually quite like mentioned at my funeral if I expire any time soon, is that I haven’t thrown up in ten years. Ten whole years. I am brilliant at not being sick. Food poisoning, ferry rides, crippling hangovers – I’ve made it through them all without breaking my streak. But with Tamiflu I very, very nearly met my match. Incidentally, if anybody wants an (almost) complete box of the stuff, I’m selling it at a very reasonable price.

So, I hear you’re all up in arms over Jim Davidson’s dissing of Worthing. Before you get all worked up and burst a blood vessel, I’d like to stop you and ask, why? He’s JIM DAVIDSON. Do we want his approval? Do we want him to start holidaying here? Get with it, Worthing – this is like when someone really badly dressed insults your outfit. We should be pleased! He’s the poster boy for bad taste! We have Oscar Wilde’s approval; we can definitely do without Davidson’s.

I could even suggest that anyone who still cares what Davidson thinks must be a sexist, homophobic, borderline racist themselves. But I won’t.

* * * * * * * * * *

Being sofa-bound for four days drives one to extreme lengths of entertainment. During my week of pig-pox, I have done every single quiz on I have rearranged my shoes into tidy rows. I have sewn, I have dusted, I have finally thrown away the brown thing in the fridge. And, because laughter is the best medicine, I have revisited MySpace and trawled through pages and pages of old posts from sixth form.
It’s amazing that the internet has effectively fossilised out former selves, like a museum of teenagehood for future study. But while nostalgia is always a great way to kill a Friday night, I hadn’t banked on how depressing it would be to realise that four years ago you were wittier, more interesting, and had much better hair than you do now.