The Search For 2005′s Hottest Disease

The always-popular Monday morning South Shore line of the Long Island Rail Road leisurely jets work-latecomers into Manhattan a bit shy of 10 a.m. It often reveals heady surprises. Recently, The Transom was aroused to be sitting across from gray-haired recent Survivor winner Tom Westman, the infamously manipulative Long Island-living NYC fireman. He spent most of the trip on his cellphone; apparently, he had a meeting later that day at NBC. When not chatting, he read from a semi-self-help book called The Power To Connect.

But The Transom was most impressed by the egalitarianism of it all. Millionaires on public transport! America!

The Transom itself was willing to rise so shortly after dawn to train into New York City this morning for some very exciting test results. (No, it hasn’t finally gone for its GED.) The Transom may perhaps be premature, but it expects to find that it has a Very Hot Disease.

Though, one catch, which causes a bit of social trouble: it is still unclear exactly what the hot disease of 2005 is. What if this disease is, forfend, un-hot?

For many years, The Transom sought its medical care with a handsome young doctor with an office in SoHo. He had an unexcitable, soothing demeanor and exceptionally attractive and manly wrist hair. A year or so ago, this doctor announced that he was tired of spending his hours billing insurance companies, interrupting his patient care, and so he would be joining a larger family practice that didn’t accept private insurance.

The Marxist in The Transom was excited!

But then, two weeks ago, an appointment was finally made at this “family practice.” And it was discovered to be, in fact, nothing but a Medicaid clinic. It was infested by the poor! The Transom enjoys a chance, every great once in a while, to see how the other 98% live, but doesn’t prefer to get its medical care amongst them.

There is, after all, a reason that poor people die earlier. It is because they’re poor. And for anyone who has dated or summered among the poor, it is clear that poverty is incredibly contagious.

And so The Transom’s medical records were sent to one Dr. Howard Grossman, who is the reigning A-gay doctor of Chelsea. Dr. Grossman’s office looks like the coat room at a Ross Bleckner party. There’s more gay-face in that waiting room than at Musical Mondays at Splash Bar. There’s more…

Hmm. What was The Transom talking about?

Oh right.

Although Martha Stewart has had Lyme disease more than once, we understand, none of those episodes have taken place recently. Perhaps her ankle bracelet is a tick repellant. In fact, The Transom can’t think of a high-profile case of Lyme yet this summer. And further on the down side: Daryl Hall had Lyme disease. But hotter yet: Jamie-Lynn Sigler!

(The Transom should perhaps mention at this point in its glib rounds that it does have a few friends with family members who have been gravely and permanently injured by the tick-borne menace.)

But more clear than the status of Lyme is what’s definitely unhot: West Nile, for one, which conjures up the elderly and dead birds, neither of which are sexy. The verdict is out on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A relatively famous gentleman of The Transom’s acquaintance had the Spotted Fever a few years back, and it definitely makes up in severity what it lacks in popularity, making it potentially very hot. Indeed, it is a very exclusive club who enjoy the travails of the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Still, Lyme has staying power. And it has the cachet of old Connecticut, and the scent of the racy, expensive woods of Long Island. Just as alabaster skin in Victorian times meant that one wasn’t compelled to labor outside with the icky poor, Lyme speaks of the new leisure class; beds of elaborate gardens, weekends spent cutting one’s homegrown zucchini to add to one’s hand-cut egg noodles. (Thank you, Jamie Oliver!)

Or perhaps that’s just The Transom’s newly acquired neurological tics talking. And so The Transom waits with bated breath for its results.
—Choire Sicha