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A man as old and uninformed as me is lucky to have the five-year-old Egg to keep me up to date with current affairs.
“There’s a terrible new disease going around,” she told me last week.
She had a series of inoculations at school that day and she displayed a huge, blue plaster on her upper arm to cover the wounds of the “incredibly thick injection needle”.
“It’s called the flute,” she said seriously. “A flute injection is possibly the most painful injection known to humankind, but I survived it.”
“If it is so painful, why did you get it?” I asked. “Because the flute is much worse,” she said. “I’m going to take my puppy for a flute injection as well. Dogs can get it too, you know.”
“As a matter of fact, I never knew it,” I admitted.
“Do you at least know that a disease such as the flute exists?” she wanted to know. “Was it around when you were a boy?”
“Nope,” I said, explaining my ignorance. “Only the black plague and leprosy.”
She just shook her head. “Your generation had it much easier in ancient times.”
“Did you cry?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said with a serious face. “It is extremely painful. I cried a lot and loudly. A boy in my class who likes me peeked through the door when I screamed. He refused to go in later for his flute injection.”
“Did the other kids cry?” I continued my cross-examination.
“No.” She shook her head. “Not one. But I don’t think they had flute injections. Their injections were probably for minor ailments such as colds or headaches. Or the black plague.”
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“I think our country has the flute,” I told her. “Look at the symptoms: load shedding, economic pain, a coughing health system…”
“That’s terrible! Maybe our country needs a flute injection. I hope it’s not too late. The nurse at school said you must get a flute injection before you get sick.”
“There might still be some time to get that jab,” I answered.
“That’s good news,” Egg said. “I hope there’s still time. But we will have to hurry up – the flute is no joke. It’s going to hurt.”
Clever child. I’m sure she takes after her father.
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