Holding in cough is today’s equivalent of hiding zombie bite

Photo courtesy of Megan Lockhart

By Megan Lockhart | Reporter

In my experience on campus thus far, everyone is trying to hold in any form of a cough, whether it be choking on water or just clearing your throat in order to keep people around them from panicking.

Sitting in the perfectly quiet third floor of Moody Library, I reach to grab a sip of my water bottle. But in an event that occurs more often than I care to admit, it slips down my trachea, forcing me into an involuntary coughing attack. I finish dying and look around to find a sea of horrified faces staring back at me.

One guy promptly begins packing up to leave my vicinity. I swear I don’t have COVID-19, I’m just really bad at drinking any liquid.

It’s an understandable reaction. People are panicking and the world feels like it’s in utter chaos. The last thing anyone wants is the risk of contracting the virus from a hacking girl in the library.

In every stereotypical zombie movie, there is the one character who secretly is bitten but in order to avoid being rejected by the other characters, decides to instead hide their condition and appear normal for as long as they can. This is a dark metaphor but it is shockingly similar to the way people act when they feel the slightest urge to cough.

These are strange times we are living in. So strange, that the next time I’m choking or I need to clear my throat, I’ll choose instead to suffer in silence than to allow any suspicion around me.

I will admit, however, that I am guilty of the same thought process. When I hear someone cough in class or while passing me by on the street, my instant reaction is to break out the Lysol and crop dust all the air particles that stand between them and me. I know that they could easily just be clearing their throat or have the common cold, but they could also be hiding a zombie bite.

In order to combat this phenomenon in our modern day, I have now mastered the art of “the breathe cough” in which I release a tiny cough while at the same time exhaling loudly enough to cover it up. One must also stare at whatever they are drinking in puzzlement to emphasize to the general public that your reasons behind hacking up a lung are nothing to fear.

So coming from someone who chokes on mere air itself far too often, please normalize non-corona-induced coughs. I’m not secretly a zombie, I promise.