• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


                                       WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:

Grandparent Virus has been known to strike unexpectedly. It can be time consuming and is very disruptive to schedules. Anyone involved is advised to exercise particular caution prior to making any and all appointments.

Please note that this 'dis-order' does not seem to affect one gender more than the other [contrary to common myths]. It does affect the types of cars, clothes and furniture purchased and even the way households are arranged.  Although not contagious, except to spouses and other closely related family members*, it may produce similar symptoms for close associates, usually upon repeated exposure.

Onset may be sudden, or gradual, with differing degrees of acknowledgement or denial. Persons of sound mind may seem unaware of radical changes to their usual routines, activities, conversations and general lifestyle. 

If friends, coworkers or other acquaintances express any concern, those manifesting this syndrome show apparent enjoyment of symptoms, little embarrassment and virtually no concern over unpredictable and frivolous behaviors.  Many profess profound pleasure from their condition despite repeated and varying unforeseen consequences. Finances may be strained as purchases fluctuate wildly and all previous expectations of common sense evaporate.

Many smitten with this malady report that they are most affected during (and immediately prior to or following) family visits, phone calls, e-mails or texts. Imaging past and future visits, calls, and letters or viewing family pictures can produce characteristic symptoms. Victims seem unable to predict when uncontrolled spending, bragging or exhaustion will take place or the severity with which symptoms may occur. Multiple repetitive copies of pictures may be shown randomly or mailed to everyone that is interested or available AND to some that are not.

To maintain a budget and friendships those that have contracted this virus may need to exert caution regarding not only where they shop but even where and when they stop.  Particular alertness in the vicinity of camera shops and retail areas for photo printing and supplies is recommended. Symptoms may become more pronounced in children’s boutiques and toy stores. Department stores, grocery stores (the treat aisles seem to cause the greatest commotions), book stores and craft stores may also precipitate attacks. Symptoms may appear in almost any location, including auto part and farm implement suppliers [those toy tractors are wonderful] and at concerts and sporting events. Those in acute stages may be overcome anywhere. 

Individuals who have already contracted this virus seem to be the most resistant and tolerant to side effects from others but anyone within immediate proximity should be aware that all infected individuals may precipitate extreme fatigue in self and associates. Disinterested bystanders may exhibit classic eye rolling, head shaking, or boredom. 
There are at present no known cures for viral infections and this virus must also generally run its course.  Family peace is most readily preserved when everyone in the family allows other family members equal privileges for bragging rights and picture sharing without impatient interruptions or excessive and competitive behaviors. Understanding support from friends is generally well accepted and often enthusiastically welcomed. 

Plenty of fluids and extra rest seem to shorten many viral illnesses but Grandparent Virus seems to be prolonged by these time tested remedies.  Although regular lengthy exposure to grandchildren seems to effect the most general cure, symptoms seldom disappear entirely and anyone that contracts Grandparent Virus is unlikely to ever be entirely symptom free.  Time and experience seem to lessen side effects and Grandparents do learn to manage the ever present crisis of scheduling and fiscal opportunities.


*(This virus does seem to mutate to various interesting expressions in other individuals, depending on degree of familial relationship to those affected. Two other well know related afflictions are Sibling Rivalry and Baby Blues).