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To All The People Who Have Coughed On Me Before

Bwog hates the flu. Protect yourself and others this flu season with the Dracula cough.

As the temperature drops and the sun sets earlier, we welcome fall here at Bwog. We do not; however, welcome people who insist on coughing all over others.

Long before my time in Bwog, my mother disciplined me with quips like “put that down, Caroline,” or “elbows off the table, Caroline,” or “stand up straight, Caroline.” Her instructions blessed me with average manners that usually get me by in public, but my most distinct memory was when she taught me how to cough.

According to my mom, an acceptable cough was a ‘Dracula cough.’ Five year old me could not easily grasp this concept. So I can’t cough into the air?, I thought. No, I could not, and you should not either.

A ‘Dracula cough’ is when one lifts their arm across their face and coughs into their elbow. Not onto their neighbor, not into the open air, not into their hand—they cough into their elbow. While we all possess a different worldview, I thought this definition of an acceptable cough was universal. Coughing onto one’s neighbor would probably result in that fine person never speaking to you again. Coughing into the open air results in those germs roaming beyond the campus and throughout Morningside Heights. Coughing into one’s hand has even more detrimental repercussions, as that hand is now free to touch and infect any nearby object. Subway handles? Worse than usual. Classroom desks? Atrocious. Cereal boxes in the grocery store? Now, every Captain Crunch lover might as well walk the plank.

So please, I beg of you, use your elbows to implement the Dracula cough. Your family, your friends, and your classmates will thank you. I will personally dedicate my next Bwog post to you if you inform Bwog that you used this tactic the next time you feel a cough coming on. If you end up coughing into your hands, please wash them. I know you won’t, but all I can do is ask. It’s flu season. It’s the post-midterms, pre-finals, almost Thanksgiving time period. We’re in the home stretch, and the Dracula cough can bring us across home plate.

Of course, if you are not able or traditionally bodied, this rhetoric does not apply to you. Please cough as comfortably as you can; do not injure yourself in attempting the Dracula cough. The same goes for if you are choking; Please cough and motion to alert others for help. For the rest of us, use those elbows. They don’t have many other uses, and they miss you very, very much.

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