The Unacknowledged Epidemic

The Unacknowledged Epidemic

Cooties is to people as cholera is to an immune system.  This is a true fact, and yet many people do not acknowledge it.  This leads to a dangerous and terrible spread of a disease known commonly as love.  

What are cooties, anyway?

Simple.  Cooties are like dust mites.  They are small, but not as tiny as viruses like, say, the flu.  They sneak into one’s ears, crawl through the cochlea, and swim through the cerebrospinal fluid to the brain.  By now, the damage is inevitable.  They will burrow into the brain, which may take anywhere from 1 days to three weeks, depending on how susceptible one is.  As soon as they reach the center of one’s brain, one will fall under their effects.  Cooties feed on the electricity of firing synapses.  By eating away at these synapses, they mess with one’s brain.  Symptoms of infection include being unable to form coherent sentences when around the infector (for everyone has their own kind of cootie–they’re like fingerprints), suddenly losing coordination when in the general vicinity of infector, and, in extreme cases, the inability to turn one’s eyes away from the infector.  

Okay… If cooties are so bad, how did I get them in the first place?  

The answer is that contact and near-contact with the infector will allow their cooties to jump to the person like head lice.  (A side note–one may hear lice referred to to as cooties, but this is not, in fact, true.  Head lice is just referred to as cooties because the way they jump onto a victim is similar).  Contact and near-contact with a carrier may also infect the person.  A carrier is someone who has had contact or near-contact with the infector.  Common carriers are siblings, parents, and friends of the infector.  

Is there a way I can treat cooties?

Although leading scientists in this field have tested this frequently, the answer is that at the moment, we have no reliable way of treating cooties.  The most one can do is try to discourage them.  One can do this in a couple of ways.  First, one can get rejected by the infector.  This is not advisable–it hurts like the dickens.  The cootie goes into shock, naturally; it was just rejected by its own.  When the cootie goes into shock, the infected is affected by it as well.  (Remember—it’s burrowed into the infected’s brain!).  One will experience moodiness, hood-over-head syndrome, and other melancholy attitudes.  The second way is to keep contact with the infector to a minimum, preferably none at all.  This may not work, however.  If the cootie is embedded particularly deep, one will just find oneself pining away.  If the cootie is not embedded securely, one may be able to shake it loose by avoiding contact.  

An important side note:

Just because one beat a cootie once doesn’t mean one is safe.  Relapses are possible, and saddeningly frequent.  

Alright, so I can’t treat it reliably… Is there a way not to get it at all?

Good question.  One thing one can do is that one can avoid possible infectors and carriers.  Make a list of people who you think may be able to infect you.  Now, make a list of their friends and their family.  One must stay out of shouting distance of any of these people–cooties can jump surprisingly far.  If that is too much trouble, or just too darn impossible, one might invest in sound-proof earphones, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing.  If those methods don’t work, one will just have to go into deep quarantine.


Ask A Texan: Why do Texans get off on being from Texas?


[Ed. note: please welcome Austinite, crafter and design maven Allison to “Ask A Texan.” As a multi-generation Texan, we feel she is more than qualified to answer this question. If you think she got it wrong–or right–let us know in the comments!]

Dear Ask A Texan,

Why do people from Texas seem to really, really, really get off on being from Texas? I get pride in your homeland. And, I also sympathize with the need to maintain a sense of rootedness in the increasingly free-floating postmodern existential vacuum that modern life has become. However, I’ve never seen this intensity of xenophobia/nationalism on the state level. We see it nationally all the time. But Texas is unique in this regard among the 50 states. You rarely see someone, for example, refer to themselves as a “Proud Massachusettan.” Quick story: at a BBQ once, we saw a plaque on the hosts’ living…

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The old man could be seen hunched over a blue flicker in an alleyway, if you looked close enough. He was shaking. The Reaper had passed so close, but luckily, his sights were trained on someone else. The old man felt bad for that child, and felt the loss, for his own reasons. All he could do now was focus on the girl, help the girl, and teach the girl. He had accumulated much knowledge in his unnaturally extended life. He needed someone to pass it on to once he left this plane of existence. He needed someone to continue his fight.

The girl in question was, at the moment, bombing a math test. Her mind was on other things, and they were not in the slightest bit normal. She pondered her encounter with the man. It was many months ago, and yet she couldn’t shake the notion that he was still out there, watching her. She shuddered. It was a creepy thought. How was he able to conjure such otherworldly creatures like the wyrm he had with him that night? How dare he suggest they had something in common? Would he have poisoned her if he hadn’t gotten distracted? Would she still be alive if she hadn’t escaped?

The bell rang, and the girl was forced to hand in her math test, only half filled in. Her teacher raised his eyebrows. Honestly, what were kids getting up to these days? She had deep bags under her eyes, and she walked as if she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks.

“Sorry, Mr. Smith. I guess I wasn’t so focused today.”

The girl then walked out of the classroom, on her way to another day of lunch in the library. Mr. Smith watched her go, and finally moved his eyes down to his desk, where he had tests to grade. He shrugged his shoulders, and pushed his worries of the girl into the back of his mind, where other things not mentioned resided, like the uncommon occurrence of a half dressed clown putting makeup on in the mirror of his chevy. He preferred not to reflect on these things.

The Reaper stepped off his peryton. The giant creature grunted and shook his giant mass of pointed antlers. The Reaper tapped his bejeweled clasp, and the peryton shimmered out of the air. This done, the Reaper pulled off the hood of his cloak.

Stark white hair spilled in front of his pale face. His eyes remained in shadow, but if one could see them, one would be shocked by the lack of pigment. Looking out of a window, the Reaper tried to decide what he was going to do with the boy. Should he kill him? No, the Reaper thought. He might become valuable later. As a fighter, or maybe a bargaining piece. After all… phoenixi are some of the most volatile ma’apinsinuo.

Y’all, I’m just curious. Answer accordingly. If you’re family, don’t answer


I’m not even gonna call this a random writing.  I guess it technically is… but whatever.

School starts in 4 days, and I’m not ready for summer to be over yet.

I guess I’ll be able to enjoy the relaxed first week… and seeing my friends again… and the bizarre things us middle-schoolers start to talk about… and the novelty of being a seventh grader… (Yow… that’s hard to believe.  I still feel like a small sixth grader…)

But I’ll get lots of homework.  And I’m sure that Algebra is gonna have me either put to sleep, because my brain doesn’t want to think about it, or up all night, because I have to think about it, because homework.  Ugh.  Not ready for that.  Oh man, don’t y’all remember the good ol’ days when all we had to do was a small book report on this or that?  Good times…

And then there’s projects.  I know I won’t fail, that I’ll figure it out… but that doesn’t make it any less stressful.

And, of course, P.E.  Relatively not that bad, but there’s something to be said for not doing the FitnessGram tests.  Or dancing to Just Dance videos on YouTube.  Or being sent outside to run the track over and over again.


But sometimes it’s worth it to go to school.  I mean, sometimes there are field trips.  Or movies.  Last year, we watched the Polar ExpressMoanaHidden Figures, and Boss Baby in math class.  And then there are subs.  The awesome subs—like, one time, I got a World Cultures sub who sat us down, and then talked about college football and student loans.  Sometimes a student would say something, but we literally just spent an hour and forty-five minutes doing nothing.  It was great.  And it was at the end of the day so everyone could just sit back and relax.

Then there are the okay-but-not-the-greatest-sub-ever subs.   Last year I got another World Cultures sub who was like, “Okay, who wants Pringles?”  Every hand shot up.  The sub walked around the room and gave each anticipating child one pringle.  Only one.  I’m not sure–and I can’t say this for everybody–what I was expecting, but one pringle sure wasn’t it.  Still, though, one takes a pringle when one can.


Well… at least I got all my summer homework done.  (Yes, my school gave out summer homework.  I… it… I… sighhh)  Anyway, that’s something, and it’s not like I have a choice to go to school, so I guess I’ll just have to make the best of it.

Movie A Series of Haikus

In fifteen minutes

Only fifteen minutes more…

Fifteen too many

I’m watching ads, pics…

Kinda boring, tbh

Oh well… I will deal.

I wish I’d brought cards.

Alas, I left them at home.

Could’ve played “Go Fish”.

Instead, I write these.

Haikus inspired from bored.

(That phrasing is weird).

Running out of stuff.

Warning: subject matter low.

I hope it starts soon.

Just four minutes left.

And counting, of course. (tick, tock)

And now only two.

It is almost time.

This waiting is killing me.

JK. I’m (near) fine.

Tylerian, house of Tryan.

My name is Tylerian, and I am an alv.  Not an elv.  Not an elf.  An alv.


I have been told that you humans aren’t familiar with the term.  An alv is a humanoid creature whose most distinguishing features are long, pointed ears, and big, amber eyes.  Alves average about 7’4″, fully grown and in their prime.

Elves are humanoid as well, and also have pointed ears, but they are shorter, and more majykal.  They can create such majyk that elfs and alves cannot.  Alves can make basic majyk, like healing lacerations, but if the lacerations were created by a basilisk, or some other type of enchanted weapon/creature, then we would be out of luck.

Figuratively, of course.  There have only been a few alves in the past eras who have run out of luck.

Elfs are the least dignified of our brethren.  They are small, pudgy, and spend most of their time hibernating.  When they do get up, they make widgets and junk to give to you humans under the supervision of the biggest and happiest of them all– Saint Claus.  This, of course, all happens during the winter.  And then, in the middle of winter, Saint Claus gets all riled up and decides to go on a gift run.

I think he might be high, or mentally impaired in some sort.  You humans have a song called “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”, I believe?  Yes?  Yeah, that actually happened.  Someone called in a few elves for cleanup, but they didn’t get there in time and… you know the rest.


There.  I hope that cleared things up.  If not… try to just avoid trying to classify by species.   Trust me when I say you really, really don’t want to call an alv an elf.