Hello again dear readers. It’s time once again for another installment of Possibly Reliable Medical Advice from Someone Whose Signature Resembles a Doctor’s. And in honor of the grandiose and majestic sporting type events currently being conducted in South Africa, I bring you a special World Cup edition of my internationally known (I have a German reader) medical advice column. The topic of today’s masterpiece: World Cup Fever. Italy and France, this one goes out to you.
(Customary Warning: The author of this column in not a doctor, nor does he play one on television. Any advice offered in this space should be considered merely a guess, yada, yada, yada…let’s get on with it already.)
Q: What, exactly, is World Cup Fever and how does one catch it?
A: World Cup Fever (WCF) is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by excessive exposure to futbol, or soccer, as we Americans call it. Generally it is contracted through participation in highly contagious futbol events which are recklessly conducted every four years by FIFA (The Federation of Infectious Futbol Activities), for the sole purpose of spreading this hideous monster to as many unsuspecting people as possible.
Q: What are the symptoms of WCF?
A: Symptoms vary depending on the individual victim. For instance, if a futbol player contracts the disease he immediately becomes prone to falling down and calling for an ambulance at the first sight of dandruff. Should he be well enough to actually attend his team’s game, he must be very careful to not get too close to any opposing players, lest he accidentally get bumped an aggravate his dandruff, necessitating a ground-oriented collapse and the end of the free world as we know it. Other causes for the infected player’s concern are sweat from the aforementioned opponent’s face, hair, and arm pits, as well as dirty looks from the other team and a clock that seems to be taking far too long to reach ninety minutes.
The most telling sign that a player has caught WCF is the propensity to “hit the pitch” in writhing agony, looking very similar to what you might see from a man whose arm was being amputated with a dull butter knife. Surprisingly though, the excruciating pain these athletic persons seem to be experiencing disappears as soon as play resumes. Though not proven, some experts believe the disorder could be eradicated among futbol players by simply never stopping play.
Q: Who are some of the other victims and what are their symptoms?
A: Futbol officials. You know, those guys with the horrendously bright shirts and matching flags that “officiate” a futbol game? They are prone to catching WCF, but it’s much harder to diagnose in them. Their only symptoms seem to be sudden and erratic bouts of temporary blindness, countered by brief but intense periods of vivid hallucinations. Instant replay is usually the best way to spot a stricken official. Unfortunately, the only known cure for a futbol official is an afternoon spent with Billy Martin. Since Billy is no longer with us…well, you get the point.
Fan’s can contract WCF, causing them to call in sick to work every day for two weeks straight. In Europe this isn’t such a big deal since no one works during World Cup anyway, but in other parts of the world WCF has been known to shut down entire cities. It’s almost too bad Washington is not a futbol hotbed. Anyway, other symptoms of a sick fan include uneven skin tone caused by toxic body paint; loss of composure, self-esteem, and bladder control when his chosen team loses; loss of bowel control when his team wins; and lips which have bio-genetically fused themselves to a vuvuzela.
Q: What the heck is a vuvuzela, and why does the name sound so familiar?
A: A vuvuzela is a long, narrow horn designed to make an annoying sound reminiscent of the world’s collective intelligence being sucked into outer space by aliens who want to control the world through FIFA. The vuvuzela was originally designed and produced in Whoville, but a nasty union dispute caused the the Whoville Vuvuzela Plant to shut down and out-source production to a small hut-based operation in Bantu. The name is probably familiar to you because little Cindy Lou had one.
Q: Is surgery required to remove a vuvuzela from the mouth of an afflicted fan?
A: Only in severe cases. Generally, a good, quick, slap in the face by reality will dislodge said instrument and send it flying. Any remaining scars can be covered with extremely expensive cosmetics sold by aging female celebrities with collagen-filled lips. If surgery is necessary, it’s best to consult a licensed beautician or the Cat in the Hat.
Q: Is WCF a global disorder?
A: Yes and no.
Q: Would you care to elaborate?
A: Frankly, I don’t really care about WCF, but I will elaborate in order to further my reputation as a highly unskilled medical practitioner.
Yes, WCF is a global disorder, but no, it doesn’t affect the whole globe equally. Europeans seem to be hit especially hard by it, possibly because they don’t have real football or baseball to follow. Americans on the other hand, are largely immune from WCF due to a natural resistance to sportiing events which can end in a 0-0 tie and still be called exciting. Should FIFA ever change its rules to make futbol at least as exciting as Olympic curling, more Americans will undoubtedly be at risk.
Q: Can a WCF sufferer still lead a productive life?
A: Define productive.
Q: I mean, can he continue to go to work, spend time with friends, and eventually produce offspring?
A: Sure. As long as he can handle the dandruff, alternating bouts of blindness and hallucinations, and the vuvuzela thing. Just be sure to have that removed as soon as possible.
This concludes our special World Cup edition of Possibly Reliable Medical Advice from Someone Whose Signature Resembles a Doctor’s. Join us next time when we discuss the pro and cons of homeopathetic acne treatments being produced by the former Whoville Vuvuzela Plant.