Friday, January 02, 2015

Doctor Flu?

Apparently, I should get a flu shot. Why haven't I got a flu shot? ("yet"?) Do I have a case of influenza-nertia, since I've never had a flu shot before? Not only have I never got one, but this is one of those things where I find myself having to reevaluate my entire conception of How Things Are in order to keep up with the public discourse. During my childhood/adolescence/young adulthood, I never heard of anyone getting an annual flu shot. Eventually, I started hearing of it, mostly as I started knowing more and more nurses and other medical professionals, and it was something I associated with people who were not me (said nurses, old people maybe, and I wasn't sure who else). But now all of a sudden it's one of those things being urged far and wide, and there is definitely a bit of finger-wagging and shaming on the part of the admonishers. "Get your flu shot or you're going to endanger us all!" Fair enough; if flu shots are a thing everyone should get, then I suppose everyone should be reminded to get them (although maybe without the cheerleading condescension? Maybe.) But when did they become a thing? It reminds me of Doctor Who. As a faithful reader of EW (that would be the magazine Entertainment Weekly, and if you're cool you read that as E-dub, NOT "ee double-u"), I get to find out about a lot of pop culture obsessions that I don't partake in. It's very handy. One of these is Doctor Who. Around 2012, it started reaching whatever saturation point of popularity is necessary to merit multiple lengthy articles in the pages of our weekly pop culture bible, so I learned that loads of North Americans have joined the Brits in revering and watching this series, which is so long-running that there have been a bunch of different actors who play The Doctor, kind of like James Bond, I suppose. (Also, I gather that it makes sense somehow in the show's plot/mythology to have different people become The Doctor; it's not just about actors getting bored or whatever.) Now, I have never seen an episode of Doctor Who in my life, but I'm OK with learning about it from my beloved EW (did you pronounce it right that time?), but when I got confused was over the next couple of years, 2013 and 2014, as more and more friends revealed their deep, abiding, enthusiastic love for the program. Really, friends? When did this happen, exactly? I mean I had never heard a WORD about Doctor Who, from these friends or anyone else. But suddenly it was a big pop culture obsession, and not a big NEW pop culture obsession that everyone knew they had just discovered (like your Meghan Trainors or your Hunger Games or your Orange Is the New Blacks (or is that Oranges Are the New Blacks in the plural?) (joke), but a big longstanding pop culture obsession. I mean, decades-long. Where were all these fans during my entire life that I went without hearing about Doctor Who? I'm so confused. It's really weird, this sensation of not having missed the boat, exactly, but more like of standing with a bunch of people admiring the gorgeous cruise ship and then all of a sudden turning around and finding yourself alone on the pier and everyone waving to you from the deck. How did that happen? What did I miss? Did I fall asleep or something? I haven't jumped on the Doctor Who bandwagon and I haven't been able to figure out why everybody refrained from saying a word about it during this whole life of fandom they apparently had for decades, nor have I got my flu shot or been able to pinpoint when getting a flu shot became a thing that everybody has always been doing -- even when nobody was, that I recall. It must be that handy time-traveling phone booth thing. That could totally have something to do with it.

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