Letter to Lisa's Mum: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

Last night Lisa's Mum received a letter from the indomitable Jerry Castle. You may remember Jerry from such Ride Happy posts as What is a cyclist and the $15,000 starter kit (including Lisa's Mum's replyand A solution to magpie season: the RMD project. I think Jerry's problem will be shared by many. Lisa's Mum is taking it to the people for inspiration and advice for Jerry - please leave  your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and I'll pass them on to her. Dear Lisa’s Mum, Can you offer any advice on how to avoid sickness during winter? Well… that’s not really what I want to get to the bottom of. Not quite. Let me explain. At the moment I have a colleague who insists on coughing and sneezing all over everyone in the office. His philosophy when infected with a cold is to “share the love”. I didn’t mind so much when I was a typical office drone. In fact I was often excited by the prospect of minor illness as there was a chance of a day off. The chances of infection in the modern office are high as well – the lack of fresh air, fluoro lighting and 1 sqm of personal space would make most battery chickens feel at home. In an effort to fill my wage-slave life with something a little more interesting, and to provide an avenue to “release some steam”, I took up bike riding (in a mildly competitive way). Now that I train and race regularly nothing shits me more than a douche bag proudly infecting the whole office with his latest illness. It is the height of murderous selfishness. I can see a network diagram of illness starting with this guy, and then spreading to 5 others, then 25 others, then 125 others… Some of these, the old and frail, will be steamrolled as the illness builds in intensity with each transmission. Some of these folks will be Olympians training for their once-in-every-four-years-big-day-out. This office douche bag is undoubtedly responsible for not only thousands of nursing home deaths but the loss of 20 or 30 Olympic gold medals for Australia (this is hard to stomach, particularly when our track team is performing so well). So Lisa’s Mum, I’m hoping the wisdom of 30 years of Earl Grey drinking can help me with two questions? (1) How do I avoid sickness in the presence of an office sneeze machine? (2) What is a suitable punishment for those who infect me with illness prior to a race? Is this, for example, a bunny-boilable offence? A related question is… 3. How do I quickly get back into form after a minor illness? (perhaps that’s one for Lisa though?) Cheers, Jerry