No. 51 – Got Chicken Pops?

*This post has nothing to do with actual chickens. This image was just too good to pass up.

Earlier this year I got shingles. And let me say this now:

Shingles is not something you want to experience.

It started out as just a couple of itchy bumps that I passively assumed were bug bites. As the itchiness morphed into pain over the course of a few days, I modified my assessment to think perhaps they were some kind of spider bites.

After several days of increasing pain, I begin to suspect that I had somehow been injected with a deadly nerve toxin. And after the pain began to spread, I began to wonder if I was perhaps experiencing the early stages of something that would eventually kill me.  Something that would spread to my vital organs, like my heart or brain.

This was concerning.

I did a bunch of research on the Internet, but as usual the Internet was vague and slightly alarming in its variety and intensity of prognoses. I think shingles was in there somewhere, but remember, I was largely under the impression that some sort of poison or venom was slowly working its way through my flesh.

Wearing a shirt became challenging. Sitting against the back of a chair became challenging.

Breathing became challenging.

Finally a week into it I made the passing comment to my wife as she was heading out the door:

ME: “I just don’t understand why the bug bites are spreading…how is that possible?”

WIFE: (putting a coat on a child) “What? It’s not possible, if it’s spreading, those aren’t bug bites.”

The idea that they were bites was so overarching in my mind that the moment that that idea was removed, it became clear. A brief Internet search confirmed my suspicions.

ME: (pounding down the stairs towards the front door) “I have shingles!!”

(I shouted because I was relieved to know what it was, and also that my death was unlikely)

WIFE: “Really?” (eyes lighting up) “Maybe we can infect the kids with chicken pox!”

About two weeks later, my son manifested three single pox on his skin. The method of his infection is not something I wish to discuss.

The girls were not successful in getting the pox, which was an enormous disappointment. Getting the chicken pox is a rite of passage, a rite that protects you from getting it later when it’s more harmful. Now the problem is that most kids aren’t getting it and benefiting from the natural immunity, which makes it so much harder for you to have your kids get it. Seriously. This is a problem for many.

Back in my day, people used to have Chicken Pox Parties, one kid would get it and all the moms would bring their kids over and force them to give each other enough hugs and kisses to guarantee transmission. I’m pretty sure that’s how I got it as a kid.

About a week later, I was in a bathtub of baking soda, raking my flesh with my nails, dying of itchiness. But I got through it, and now I’m immune! 🙂

AUTHOR’S NOTE – My wife informs me that though I’m most likely immune from getting the chicken pox a second time, I do have the virus in my body for life, dormant, in the form of the shingles virus, ready to erupt at any time, like an invisible a-symmetrical sunburn. Joy.

Today’s challenges in infecting your kids present interesting entrepreneurial opportunities, such as the folks retailing chick pox pops over the Internet. Possibly not the safest way to get your kid sick.

KEY LIFE SKILL – Don’t accept candy from strangers. Especially when they actually admit that the candy is dirty with germs. And then charge you money for it.




ME: “We talked about this on the way over, no food-coloring!”

WIFE: “They’re not even in a candy-cane shape…it’s more of just a bag…”