Dratted things creeping innumerable


Gills become ears-nose-and-throaty things

The beginning of December is not a good time for a clerk in Holy Orders to be feeling unwell, but unwell is how I feel. Headache, gently throbbing ears and nose (not throat yet), slight unsteadiness when I stand, which has nothing to do with the glass of port that I may or may not have had last night. I know I’m not alone in these otorhinological symptoms, and they remind me of evolutionary consequences of the adoption of a terrestrial (as opposed to a marine) environment.



I muse on the wonders of creation in the form of bacteria and viruses responsible for these throbbing feelings. I wish the microbes no harm, though I wish they would do me no harm. You will doubtless recall from the ‘proper’ version (the old Prayer Book) of Psalm 104 that splendid phrase: ‘things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts’. I wonder if the psalmist would have been quite so up-beat if s/he had realised that things creeping innumerable can do us a lot of damage. It brings home to us that size is not everything. I could go on, but such zoological wanderings do nothing to alleviate the symptoms. The question is, should I commit murder by taking antimicrobials? Ah, the ethical dilemmas we face.

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