Man-Flu's silver linings

Jimmy Johnson revels in the delights of man-flu.

I was last outdoors, for any period of time, on Monday morning (it’s Thursday evening) – when I shuffled to the Hull Road Co-op wearing far too many jumpers and, erm, a snood (it was a gift), in search of Lemsip and that Holy Grail of winter illness cures, chicken soup. Having emptied my wallet and reserves of dignity in acquiring those items (it took me a full 25 minutes to find them, such is the vice-like grip this affliction has on the mind), I returned to my dank nest of self-pity and turmoil.

Man-flu not cholera, just to be clear. ©

I can’t sleep, since I’m constantly awoken by my own foghorn cough – which in turn rakes at the back of my overly tender throat. The angry throat, incidentally, seems to be overkill – since I wouldn’t bother to eat anyway, as my digestive organs have decided that eating is a luxury I can no longer accommodate, and that since I’m up anyway, I may as well spend my 5am welded to the toilet, painstakingly typing ‘cholera’ and ‘dysentery’ into Google using the seemingly ever-shrinking keypad on my phone.

Fortunately, I have neither of those ailments. What I do have, however, is man-flu. And it’s great.

This is, of course, heresy. The whole point of man-flu is that it’s totally worse than any other cold – and that’s why us men, usually so strong in the faces of numerous adversities (right?), struggle to cope with it. But, weirdly – in addition to chunks of my own lungs, I’ve found some little nuggets of joy amongst the contents of what’s been coughed into my cold hands.

I’ve been forced to do nothing and not feel guilty about it.

Man-flu, science has probably shown, means that the clever bit of your brain is filled with gunk, so you can’t actually do anything remotely mentally taxing whilst you suffer from it. To that end, I’ve missed a whole raft of academic obligations, but feel about as guilty as a man who’s just singlehandedly saved (and found a loving home for) every occupant of a burning puppy orphanage.

I’ve saved money.

The meat in my freezer, crucially, is staying in the freezer, at least for a little while longer. That’s pretty much free money. Kinda.

Well, it’s not – but a healthier me would’ve trashed those Tesco sausages by now – and they live to fight another day, which means at some point later this term, I won’t be buying sausages I would’ve bought. And so forth. Hoorah.

I’m also not going to make it to my Wednesday social, which means booze money can be re-invested elsewhere, and my strange and expensive habit of building my own sub sandwich at 2.30am can be totally avoided, for one week at least.


Well, sort of. Usually I spend a stupid amount of my time, sometimes five times a week, playing hockey. My newfound absences of breath, balance and responsiveness have meant that I’ve had to miss training and a match this week – so in a weird way, I’ve healthily avoided exercise, as well as the day-to-day running from broken printer to broken printer around campus that my degree seems to demand.

At the very least, I’ve spent a record amount of time pretty much horizontal, so much so that the bit of my brain that regulates balance really struggles with standing up now – which is actually rather fun.

I got re-acquainted with my parents.

Since I had nowhere to be, and had no-one to see (#BNOC) – I did have the time to have a super-long, and very natural Skype chat with my folks. It turns out that in the eight weeks since I saw them last, I’ve forgotten a lot about them, and that my parents are actually bloody cool people – though they are increasingly resembling Bernie and Roz Focker.

Finding my parents were becoming this was an unexpected side-effect of the gender-specific sniffles. ©IMDB

I lost weight!

OK, so I wouldn’t recommend getting ill as a diet option, but I’ve visibly gotten thinner over the past week, and so once Christmas finally appears (hurry up with that, by the way), I’ll feel far less guilty about eating bread sauce with my hands when no-one’s looking.

Oh shut up, if you’ve never done it you’re only missing out.

I found a use for that snood.

And it wasn’t a gift, I bought it in 2010. And it’s brilliant.

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