Pine Nuts: This has not been your father’s train of flu

I thought I knew what flu was. It was an annoying inconvenience you could kick to the curb and get on with your life without significant interruption.

The flu was not worth a second thought, certainly not worth mentioning. Granted, the last time I had any acquaintance with the flu I was a child of 58.

I know that fact because the flu medicine my caretaker found in the back of a dark closet was 13 years past its “Use By” date.

Had she not pointed that indelicacy out to me, I’d have gobbled down the entire batch, and this vital column might have gone wanting.

But let me back up to that moment, a week ago, when “Riggy” first tapped me on the shoulder. I feel qualified to call “Riggy” by that cognomen, as I would become so familiar with Rigormortis in the days to come.

When this 2015 brand of what I now think of as “Ebola Lite” first came calling, my reaction was something like, “Well, what shall I have for dinner, steak or chicken? Actually neither sounds good, I think I might just suck my thumb for a minute here until I feel better than I do right now, because I suddenly feel like a calf that has been deserted by his mother in a snowstorm and left with nothing to chew on but a dishrag…”

Day One: I knew I was dying and wanted to die.

Day Two: I knew I was dying and wanted to live.

Day Three: I felt cured and walked out of the house with the bravado of John Dillinger, capable of pulling a bank job with a potato if I felt like it. Fortunately, I did not feel like it.

Day Four: Tossed unceremoniously back into bed, but this time with a cough, not just any cough, this cough came with instructions: “Cough until you run out of air and your stomach cramps, then cough up your immortal soul. When the staples come loose from your double-hernia operation don’t worry about it, they can fix that if you survive the cough.”

Day Five: Call the priest to sandpaper my soul, for I am about to meet my Maker. I am not Catholic, but I like this Francisco fellow — and am ready to convert.

Day Six: There’s hope in Mudsville … cancel the priest.

Day Seven: Sunlight is playing upon the pine needles outside my window. Children are playing in the snow. The Rubbish Man is playing his symphony of dumpster on truck, “Boom, Boom, Ka-Boom!” It was all music to my ears. I wanted to throw off the covers, pull on my running shoes and go for a run in the woods. But a leetle voice deep down inside, said, “Hey Pal … tomorrow.”

So should you get a tap on the shoulder from 2015’s “Riggy,” don’t despair, call me and I can walk you through it day by day, for I am now a foremost authority on the subject, and you just might want to think about getting a flu shot.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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