DOOMED – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt: ATM Germs


We are doomed.

Yesterday — or was it the day before? — we got our super flu shots. These are hyped up uber-potent shots they give to us older folks because we are more likely to get sick than younger people. Also, we are more likely to die from the flu because we have other issues — asthma, blood pressure, and heart problems. Sinus problems. Stomach problems. Fibromyalgia. MS. Cancer.

In fact, I don’t know why we don’t just die and give the world a break. Sheesh.

Discovering that in addition to the usual distributors of disease — other people, especially very young people — we can now worry about everything we touch including the ATM machine.

Don’t forget your flu shot …

Really? As if the handles on the shopping cart and whatever my granddaughter has on her clothing isn’t bad enough, now I have to stress over ATM machines? Not that I actually use the ATM machine. I won’t make a deposit without going to an actual person in the bank. I want a paper receipt.

Call me crazy, but once, a long time ago in a bank since absorbed by some larger bank — probably by now it’s all Bank of America — they lost a deposit I put through in an envelope that included an official deposit slip.

It got straightened out but left me with a firm belief for any deposit made by check or cash I want a written, signed piece of paper from a person.

We are doomed. No matter how hard we try, something will get us.

We don’t go out much. When we do, we usually get sick. It’s like the slow cars that pull out in front of us while we are driving. I’m sure these cars are told when to appear by drones from the super-slow drivers’ department. Meanwhile, somewhere in the air, there’s a germ-laden drone.


“Look! It’s the Armstrongs! Prepare to disperse germs!”

Mostly, Garry and I have been exhausted. All the time. For me, this typically means fibromyalgia. Garry had surgery in July and I have a feeling that this might have triggered the same thing for him. Women are more typically fibromyalgia victims, but men are not excluded.

Then again, maybe we aren’t sick at all. Maybe we just aren’t getting enough sleep. The weather has been like hot soup with interludes of rain.  Duke is shedding like a small furry hurricane. Our sinuses and eyes don’t like the ragweed and Garry is getting used to carrying around a lot of electronics inside his head.

So maybe it’s all allergies and getting even older.

When we went for our flu shots, they always ask if you think you might be sick. At our age, that’s not an easy question to answer. Maybe we are fine or as fine as we ever are. But, maybe we aren’t fine.

Am I exhausted from all the running around to doctors and hospitals or because I’m coming down with something? Am I recovering from the major house cleaning last week? Or am I worn out because our dogs are faster, friskier, and more impassioned about balls that squeak than I could ever be?

Don’t you wish you could get that enthusiastic about a big green tennis ball that squeaks? Don’t you wish you could bite something hard enough to make it squeak?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

32 thoughts on “DOOMED – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Good to know you practice what you preach ( Flu shots!) 😉 – not that i doubted it for a second!

    Now if someone could just come up with a decent anti-negativity shot for our minds that innoculates us against all the bad stuff and negativity blowing all over our mind fields so we can then relax and concentrate on all the good stuff we need for our sanity and good health! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t WANT an “anti-negativity” shot. I want things to actually improve. There are already plenty of drugs that will make you “feel better,” but none that actually fix the problems. Concentrating on “all the good stuff” was how Nazi Germany wound up Nazi Germany.

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  2. I am around your age and I haven’t gotten flu shots for the past two years and haven’t gotten the flu. But I don’t want to press my luck, so I will probably get one this year. And with my luck, I’ll get the flu.

    And for what it’s worth, I make all of my deposits to my bank account using the bank’s online banking app and taking pictures of the front and back of the checks I wish to deposit with my iPhone. It’s super easy and convenient. But I will take note from now on to use some hand sanitizer after my next close encounter with an ATM.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Once you start getting the flu shot, you pretty well have to get it every year. It provides passive immunity that doesn’t last. If you are out and about you build a certain amount of natural immunity.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really use my phone that much. And to be fair, I have very few actual physical deposits to make these days. Everything is electronically deposited. When I was running a shop online, I got a LOT of checks, so it was a more or less daily chore. But when you are running a business, you really need receipts. Records, you know? I notice if I’m there in the morning, ALL the local shopkeepers are there too. When it’s a business, you don’t rely on a phone app.

      I am so glad I’m not running my shop anymore! I really loved it for the first two years, but by the third, right before the economy crashed and burned, I was tired. I worked a 7 day week and relied on a lot of help from my son for packing, Garry to help me trek to strange places to buy weird things …. and then I had to make sure every item was photographed and documented.

      It was WORK!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am still waiting for the shot against getting older and so is Mr. Swiss. In the meanwhile we are getting older and discovering more health problems to go with it. Flu shot? Never had one and neither Mr. Swiss. We don’t get flu, just MS (me) and back pains (Mr. Swiss) and other minor complaints for what you do not get shots. No problem with ATM machines, I very rarely use one, just pay by card. Now and again I have to get cash for the cleaning lady, but she keeps everything germ free afterwards.

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    1. Where you are has a lot to do with the flu. It runs rampant. In the coastal cities, east and west. We have massive outbreaks in schools and hospitals when everyone gets sick. If you are a kid, and you can take two weeks off from school, or a young adult in good health, a two week killer cold isn’t the end of the world, but when you are working full time — and you DON’T have two weeks of sick time (who, in this country, has two weeks of sick time anyway?) — or you have heart issues — it’s a chance you don’t want to take. I used to get the flu every year, followed inevitably by pneumonia. Now, I am inoculated against pneumonia AND the flu, so I just get the usual bad colds — and not many of them, either. I haven’t gotten pneumonia in since right before my heart surgery (delayed for three months because of the flu and pneumonia and not fully gone even during surgery). And I have asthma, too. I have NEVER regretted skipping the flu!

      I’m sure, up in the mountains where you are, you don’t get as much of the wildly contagious stuff,

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a serious business at our age and if you have a lot of replacement parts in your heart AND asthma and it has potentially lethal consequences. To go through all the crap I’ve gone through only to die of flu is like trying to cure your arthritis with ibuprofen and Tylenol, then dying of kidney failure because OTC drugs are not less dangerous — just less monitored.

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  4. I refuse to give in to the idea that shopping carts are any more lethal than they were before someone invented hand sanitizers. (you don’t suppose there’s a neat advertizing gig going on there…), or that the ATM you’ve been using all this time is suddenly germ laded and deadly. And think about this: you worry about cart handles. What about all those packages and bottles and cans you handle, surely touched by entirely too many people before you got to it? Stock boys, customers, more customers, more stock boys..
    (money is the most germ laden substance of all, and we rarely think of it.)

    When you see the raft of toilet paper strewn about on the ladies room stall floors, (ewwww gerrrmmmsss) while the lady balances on her heels to pee into the toilet (and missing), a bit of germ on an ATM pales. I have never knowingly picked up anything from a cart handle, or an ATM, or opening the door into any shop, and usually I can pinpoint what I just came down with by what child I saw last who sneezed at me.

    It does sound like ragweed, or the changes in temperature, or just wearyness, which makes us all vulnerable. And the letdown of this summer, which lets face it, has been way too exciting for both of you.

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    1. I don’t use hand sanitizer unless there’s nowhere to wash my hands at all. I also think that when you spend your life wiping off normal germs, you are MORE likely to get sick. But a flu shot? Takes five minutes (free) at the pharmacy. I believe in vaccinations!

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  5. I’m an anti-germophobe who believes we will eventually be doomed as a race because we’re exposing ourselves to germs less and less. I don’t run for hand sanitizer every time I touch something in public, I don’t wash my hands unless they look dirty, I don’t go nuts spraying everything with Lysol, and I don’t use antibacterial anything. When the next superbug pandemic hits, I’ll be much more ready for it than most others since I’ve allowed my body to build up a natural resistance to germs. It’s how I can work 40 hours a week at the germ convention called Mecca and rarely ever get sick…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good for you. come sit by me on the germy bench.

      I agree, totally. I have a friend who uses anti bacterial everything, and he said he stopped using it at one point and came down with all SORTS of skin problems. It proved his point (to him at least) that anti bacterial soap works. What he didn’t see was a soap like that kills that protective layer of good bacteria that indeed keeps us from invasions.

      Like you, I rarely get skin problems and maybe one cold a year. (thank you , small child, for that) I did buy a pack of Dial once which I got because I always loved the smell of it, and didn’t realize it was now all anti bacterial. Cheap person that I am, I decided that maybe I could use it for handsoap but after a week it made me so nervous I just dumped it all. A week later I got a small cut on one hand, and overnight it turned into the infection from Hell.
      Took a week to clear it up and I have no intention of testing that again.

      Natural resistance to germs is what I think will get us through. In the middle ages the bubonic plague decimated Europe, but there were people who apparently had a natural resistance to it. The people who survived passed that resistance on to their kids, and so on, and the people who survived were stronger for it. It is, in many ways, nature’s way of ensuring that the species becomes stronger, generation by generation. Easy to forget that.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m exactly the same as you. We don’t own a single hand sanitizer or anti-germ cleanser (unless you count the toilet bowl cleaner). I think there are germs you need to adapt to or you get sick ALL the time. But the flu has been getting worse with each year and I don’t think it’s the vaccine, either. I think we’re working our way up to something like the Spanish Flu epidemic that wiped out more people than WWI. Flu has ALWAYS been a serious disease AND I believe in vaccines.

      I always wash my hands when preparing food because I have dogs and they are … well … not really clean. I tell them not to kiss me because I don’t know where that mouth has been and frankly I don’t want to know. Eww.

      At my age, the flu is a killer and I have too many replacement parts to want to mess with it. With the shots, neither of us has gotten the flu. It doesn’t mean we don’t get colds — sometimes serious ones — but not the flu. Garry used to pick up the flu when he was working — he was in touch with EVERYONE and at least one of them was probably sick. But he couldn’t ever take time off, so he’d cough and eventually, the entire newsroom was sick and coughing and I’m sure as they went out to shoot the noooze, they also managed to pass along a lot of illnesses. I think someone told me that NO ONE is sicker all year than news reporters and elementary school teachers.

      Anyone with young children is sick all the time, too because kids are contagious before they show any signs of illness … and one contagious kid in kindergarten probably means 60 or 70 little kids sick and taking it home with them. That’s WHY we are all sick so much around here. No one is allowed to take time away from work and keep their diseases to themselves, so we go to work and make everyone sick. Really stupid.

      Many companies give mandatory flu shots to everyone, these days. Most large companies do it along with hospitals. It doesn’t mean you don’t catch other stuff, but at least it levels the playing field.

      You won’t find any hand sanitizer in this house. I actually think we need to allow ourselves to become immune to most of what passes around and we won’t do that except by getting some of it. I could have skipped viral meningitis, though. That was a bummer.

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  6. Another very cheering post… “Life’ll get ya,'” as Warren Zevon said. I hope both of you feel better — surgery and change are exhausting. Garry could be worn out from the new person he has suddenly become. ❤

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    1. I think he’s still in a fog from the anesthesia. And his head is full of new sounds. It’s a good thing, but it is a very STRANGE thing.

      I think I’m dealing with the usual seasonal allergies — we live in the woods and there’s no avoiding the pollens — there are so MANY of them! And the intense humidity has made everything hurt worse than usual, so sleep is difficult.

      Meanwhile, Duke is shedding like crazy. I have to find a brush to at least try and comb him out. This is the first year he’s losing his WHOLE coat. For a 40 lb dog, he sheds like your Bear.

      What IS Bear exactly? Garry asked and I didn’t remember the name. I kept thinking Akbash or something like that. I said “Similar to a Pyrenees Mountain Dog. Same job, too. Big, gentle, collectors of people and sheep and other wanderers.”

      I always really wanted a great big furry Pyrenees, but all that white fur made everyone nervous.

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  7. I have to agree with Martha. You’ve been involve in life-alterting changes and that’s a given. I had to laugh at the ppl who are so freaked out they clean and antibacterial everything which is worse. You really don’t want to use antibacterial wipes much. Given that germs are everywhere, it’s a given that we could catch something at some point. My daughter has a cold and is quite sick. The only time I antibacterial is “now” because we share a computer. The keys get wiped down before I think of beginning as I really don’t want to get what she has. I really laughed at squeaky toys because as you may have read, my son got a beautiful black german shepherd first gen from Europe. He LOVES that squeaky toy. Nothing makes his heart pitter patter more, other than a ball. We didn’t get one that squeaks, lol. hmm an oversight? Christmas is coming, perhaps he’ll get one in his stocking, roflmao

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    1. DON’T BUY THE SQUEAKY ONE. A dog with a new squeaky ball will drive you mad, squeaking it in your face. In everybody’s face!

      I got my bag decoration yesterday and put it on. I have to take pictures.

      I have NO anti-germicidal stuff in the house because like you, I believe we need to become immune to the usual stuff. You don’t do that by anti-germing everything. There are many things I used to catch I don’t get any more. I immunized myself.

      I love the decoration (it arrived yesterday). One suggestion, though and that’s because I had trouble finding a place to hook it. The hook (clasp?) ring could be a little bigger! Otherwise, it’s GLORIOUS, lovely, and it goes perfectly. I’m a little afraid to take it outside with me, though. It looks like the kind of thing that catches on everything and I’m a major league klutz.

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      1. I’m so glad it arrived! Didn’t take long all things considered. Don’t worry, should something happen, I’ll gladly replace it. I’m new at this and seeing is a problem but I tried to make it as flex as possible and tried to pinch the ends in so it doesn’t catch, but having said that, I can’t really guarantee it since I can’t see well enough, I have to go by feel. Over the moon you enjoyed it. That’s what mattered to me! 🙂

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  8. Because of my Asthma, I began having the flu vaccination long before I was of the age for it to be offered. For me, it has also helped to avoid the common cold. I’ve also heard others say the same thing. There are new strains of flu every year and it would be impossible for the vaccine to cover each individual new strain.

    In the UK the ATM machines are more commonly used to dispense cash rather than receive it. We’re now at the time of year when flu bugs, common cold bugs and tummy bugs begin to kick off again. Scientists tell us that the bugs lurk around on everything we touch and breath, whether this is the supermarket trolley, the ATM machine or door handles, anything that is touched by umpteen individuals, it’s the way the germs are spread. I don’t carry around disinfectant wipes but I do wash my hands regularly and most definitely after returning home.
    We’re all different in our approach to this, it’s just the way we handle life, no right way, no wrong way.

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    1. I wash my hands always before preparing food. I play with dogs who wear anti-tick collars, which are a bit poisonous. Also, frankly, the dogs are grubby. But I don’t anti-germicide the house. You have to let yourself become immunized to normal illness. I think crazed anti-germophobes wind up getting sicker than the rest of us. Which is not statistics but an observation. The hand sanitizing crowd catches EVERYTHING.

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      1. I use the detox spray for the worktops (counters) when I clear up after each meal. The sink is given a quick clean at the end of the day, the toilets I disinfect a couple of times a week. Takes only a minute or so but keeps everything clean and saves me a lot of extra work later.

        I am hardly ever ill. I believe much of our immunity is gained up during childhood, but there are always new germs breeding and if they can be avoided in later life where they do a lot of harm, then that can only be a good thing. And as I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way, I don’t judge or criticise the ways of others, each of us to his own as it were. 🙂

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  9. I DO wish I could get enthused about a big green tennis ball (or a duck, squirrel or fox) that emits squeeky noises when chewed upon. And yes, I’d love to bite somebody now and again (not a ball…a HUMAN). Bite them damned hard actually. Maybe I’m experiencing my ‘terrible twos’ all over again or something. And I haven’t bitten anyone (since I was two), but watching an episode of “Prime Suspect” (have to LOVE Helen Mirren) and seeing a ‘victim’ get away from her attacker by doing just that….biting him hard on the hand.. biting might actually be a really good stress reliever. If only it weren’t for those pesky laws about extreme force or whatever they’re calling it when you really harm someone. Deliberately. Huny shares my rather luke warm attitude towards squeeky things…unless Taco (her boyfriend) comes to visit. He has a pig that he loves and if you say to him “Get the PIGGY” he goes nuts.. If Taco is on premises, suddenly the toys take on new and apparently vital importance. Lots of squeeking and a few duck ‘feathers’ as a souvenir. Thank God for my Shark…

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