DOOMED AGAIN? – Marilyn Armstrong

We are doomed. If the climate doesn’t get us, some newly arisen germ will get us. My son is sure the oncoming Coronavirus is a reiteration of Stephen King’s “The Stand.” To be fair, I read “The Stand” such a long time ago, I don’t remember much about it. I have his updated (edited material restored) version in my audiobook library, but it’s a 46-hour listen. The book was long, but now it’s a couple of hundred pages longer.

I’m not sure I have the strength to reread it, but I feel I should. Because, you know, it’s Stephen King and he’s a local guy.

It was October when we got our super flu shots. These are hyped up uber-potent shots they give to older folks — like us — because we are more likely to get sick than younger people. Sicker, because we also have asthma, high blood pressure, heart problems,  chronic sinus problems. Stomach problems. IBS. Fibromyalgia. MS. Cancer. And, of course, arthritis because you can’t avoid it. It comes with age and being mammalian.

How are your allergies? Allergies are just like being sick, but you never recover.

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 worry about everything we touch including supermarket carts and ATMs.

As if the handles on the shopping cart and whatever my granddaughter is carrying (she doesn’t get sick — at 23 you carry germs, but you’re fine) isn’t bad enough, now I have to stress over ATM machines? Not that I actually use them. I won’t make a deposit without going to a living person in the bank. I want a paper receipt. Signed and dated.


We are doomed. Something will get us.

How about that creeping, unexplained virus eating China or maybe the super-flu which the vaccine can’t control? Or the climate will continue changing and it will rain until the rivers overflow. We will all drown in boiling water because it has gotten too hot to live in what was humorously called “the temperate zone.”

We don’t go out much. When we do, one of us gets sick, followed the other one of us. There’s an inevitability to it, like the slow cars that pull out in front of us while we are traveling. 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!”


When we went for our flu shots, they asked if we thought either of us might be sick. At our age, that’s not an easy question to answer. Maybe we are fine. Or not. Is my stomach the usual “upset” or is it a bug? Am I exhausted from last week’s major house cleaning or from trying to find (unsuccessfully) a handicapped space in Worcester the other night? Does this mean I’m coming down with something? If so, what?

Am I worn out because the dogs are more passionate about squeaky balls than I have ever been about anything? 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?

28 thoughts on “DOOMED AGAIN? – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Oh I am sorry but this post made me chuckle so much. Of course it is a worry getting sick and potential of illnesses without vaccinations. It was my imagination thinking about putting one of my dogs squeeky balls in my mouth attempting to make it squeek.

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  2. You wrote: “In fact, I don’t know why we don’t just die and give the world a break. Sheesh.”

    In case you haven’t noticed, that’s exactly what the present administration would like us to do. He (Mr. T) keeps trying to dismantle the ACA and increase our medical costs where ever possible. However there is a conflict. If all of us old folks die, there will be a shortage of revenue to the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the medical business as a whole.., and didn’t he want to give big business a break by lowering their taxes? Maybe he’s trying to give them a heads-up on the coming die-off, as that part of general society (the elderly) are using up their final financial resources in a desperate attempt to stay alive as long as possible? One thing that Mr. Stable Genius has overlooked.., he is one of us “elderly,” and so is a great majority of congress. HAH!

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  3. We have extra sanitizer at work as if that will stop all germs. I have a hand lotion with sanitizer on my desk. I have disinfectant wipes in my desk which I use on all over on Tuesday as I don’t work Mondays and who knows who sat there. The airline I work for stop flying to mainland China and we thought they would stop Hong Kong too. We are contacted by companies trying to ship face masks and other medical supplies to China. Few are left going to China. I feel sorry for all the people there. It is worse than the early days of HIV as it seems to spread faster.
    I got a flu shot at Walgreens a few months ago as my doctor’s office ran out. I can not say if it was a senior shot or not.

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    • If they didn’t TELL you it was a senior shot, it wasn’t. And you aren’t quite old enough yet and you don’t have the right chronic ailments — or maybe you do. Who knows? I didn’t know I had heart disease either.

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  4. They were saying on the news the other day that you have probably built up immunities to the flu and various diseases depending upon the childhood illnesses you’ve had. So if you’ve had measles etc. as a child you won’t get it later in life when it would be more serious.
    Leslie

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  5. I am forced to get a yearly flu shot because I’m diabetic and I cross that invisible threshold into decrepitude this year. And I inevitably get sick, but I suspect I’d be sicker without the shot. The thing that irks me about this germ laden world is that those who are sick won’t stay the $#!& away from the rest of us. They’re out there, coughing and sneezing and hacking and saying things like “I’mb weally fine, I jbust sound awful!” (horseshit). The Stand, in short form, is about a superflu that kills almost the entire population of America (and ostensibly the world, although King doesn’t touch on China exactly). The remaining 2% (.5% if you believe that movie with Will Smith which was more zombie apocalypse themed and wasn’t about The Stand at all except in content) go either mad or they end up migrating to Colorado (just shy of Utah, which is described in some detail – I-80 West is clearly and accurately captured); where good versus evil takes a stand. Some brave souls go to Nevada where Las Vegas has become the capital of the Evil side. It’s creepy to think some invisible to the naked eye bug could wipe out an entire species, but there you have it. Me? I hope I catch it (if that’s truly what’s on the way) and die quickly, leaving my bloated, black faced (swollen glands to the maximum) to be buried or to return to the earth. Ugh. I’ve now remembered why I mostly stopped reading King. NIghtmare city.

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    • The only King novel I’ve read in the past 10 years is the time travel one about President Kennedy. Before that, I read his “Dark Tower” series — neither of which are horror stories. Horror is definitely NOT my (or Garry’s) thing. I only remember “The Stand” because my son, a big King fan, keeps reminding me. He has all of King’s books in hardcover, first editions, in his bookshelf, but he admits he hasn’t gotten around to reading the last five or six of them. Too busy.

      I don’t know what’s coming. I know Garry and all his reporter and TV friends were (are) convinced Ebola was a laboratory development, but who knows? If it was a lab thing, they would certainly never actually TELL us.

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  6. When I first read about Corona Virus, I also thought about The Stand by Stephen King. It seems to have turned into such a non event for the rest of the world though, based on the news. I will also be hanging around waiting for climate change to do its thing, Marilyn.

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  7. What a truly funny, squeaky, sad, touching post. Some weeks ago, I spoke with my one niece’s husband, a doctor. I told him that quite a number of elderly friends were really unwell after the flu shot and that ‘just’ this thought alone makes me wonder if I’d ever get a flu shot – because I’m fine now, aren’t I? He told me kindly but in no uncertain words that I’m basically an idiot and – had I ever seen people with REAL flu not just a bad cold – I’d not utter such nonsense…. But I feel a bit listless and immensely tired with or without a flu thought or -shot. It’s WINTER.
    Re dogs running after balls – it tires me already just seeing with how much energy and delight the ran after their balls a thousand times…. maybe we should look (later on) for an OLD dog so that I won’t have to throw a ball endlessly?!

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    • The real flu is a bastard. The difference between flu and pneumonia is where the gunk is — in your bronchial tubes or lungs which is why the flu so often becomes pneumonia. I haven’t gotten the flu since I started getting shots, but I’ve gotten some very bad colds that weren’t the flu (wrong germ) and a bad case of pneumonia that came AS pneumonia and didn’t need to be a secondary infection — which was a first. AND I have pneumonia injection — but there are a lot of types of pneumonia and the vaccination deals with the most common dozen or so versions, but there are plenty more. The problem is that our immune systems simply aren’t up to snuff. So whatever we get, it tends to be worse than one younger people get it and last at least twice as long — and when there is more than one of you in the house, there’s the old “pass it back and forth” thing going on.

      My husband is grouchy. I think it’s because he’s pissed off about getting old. I think that’s what a lot of older people are pissed off about. We didn’t plan on getting old or tired or arthritic or whatever we’ve got. it just happened and we are NOT happy.

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