Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Simple Discourse on Allergies

We’ll call him Webster. Webster suffers from a terrible allergy to dogs. When he gets a whiff of them, his eyes swell shut and his lungs spasm. People without a severe allergy don’t understand how it works and generally react by removing the offensive entity once alerted by a simple and socially viable sentence.

Webster backs away from the Doberman and says, “I’m allergic to dogs.”

This could be the end for his problems, but it isn’t because the owner speaks another sentence. Unfortunately this sentence has the same social viability as Webster’s. It is just as simple and everyone accepts that, just as his sentence means you must get the dog away from him, this sentence means he no longer has a right to avoid the dog.

The Doberman’s owner smiles, leaving enough slack on the leash her dog continues to advance on Webster.

“He’s hypoallergenic,” she says with a plaintive smile.

These socially viable sentence-long excuses allow us to skip conversations that are annoying, boring and one participant never really retains anything from anyway. When Webster uses a sentence like his, he’s defined the conversation as a simple one. The owner has responded in kind, so the brevity of discourse cannot be changed. It does not matter that even if her dog didn’t shed that its inevitable flesh dander would still aggravate Webster’s allergy. It doesn’t matter that all the crap the dog has picked up on its fur will agitate other allergies he has. It doesn’t even matter that Doberman Pinschers are not hypoallergenic. To explain any of this simply would make people think he was odd and downright rude.

If Webster were to back further away and say, “I don’t believe your dog is hypoallergenic,” offense would be registered.

If he says, “I don’t want to risk it,” she’ll think he’s weird.

If he breaches the brevity of discourse and explains how pet allergies work, she’ll be bored and know that he’s weird.

So now Webster is letting the dog lick him. Benadryl probably won’t stop his hand or eyes from swelling in a few minutes, but he’ll exceed the normal dosage anyway.


  1. Some humor like this leaves me a little speachless. I like your blog and it is fun to read.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Tom Bailey

  2. I have the same problem with people who wear perfume around me.

  3. Laura, I have the same problem but with people who insist on wearing anything BUT perfume around me.

  4. Tom, I'm glad you're enjoying the site! Happy to have you around.

    Laura, I have a very sensitive respiratory system. Perfume is tough on me, too. Even residual smoke on clothes can mess me up, as I saw again at Christmas when sitting in the same room as a smoker who had smoked outside gave me low-grade bronchitis. Oh, the life of the weak.

  5. Crush the weak! Actually, I'm not so strong either. Perfume can make me choke. I feel it in the back of my throat...

  6. Hi,

    You have an interesting blog. Cat allergies are one of the worst pet allergies. We have launched the remedy for cat allergies here cat allergy treatment . Hope it helps.


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