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Catching the “Cool” Disease

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The Rise of Span­ish Mono in US Schools
by Junior Reporter Chelsea Bryant

Since the ”˜90s, being “cool” has always meant mak­ing sac­ri­fices. To be “cool,” stu­dents will talk back to teach­ers, get tat­toos, and even have sex with each oth­er. This school year, a trend more alarm­ing than ever is ris­ing: get­ting Span­ish Mono on pur­pose so you will be cool and get a boyfriend or just have peo­ple come to your par­ty. That’s right: America’s youth finds it accept­able to get sick to be cool.

“I don’t know why, but once you get Span­ish Mono, you just don’t just seem pop­u­lar, you are pop­u­lar. You wouldn’t get it,” said Lil­ly Etton, my best friend.

With 3 mil­lion pop­u­lars infect­ed, and grow­ing, Span­ish Mono has risen as the “it” dis­ease. It’s some­thing like wear­ing clothes from New York City, mem­o­riz­ing Lil Wayne songs, and hav­ing divorced par­ents all put togeth­er, with a bonus trip to the hos­pi­tal for extra atten­tion. For too many, the boost in pop­u­lar­i­ty is can’t-miss.

Some peo­ple believe this began as far back as 2006, when the word “sick,” like “dope,” “bad,” and “bitchin’,” became an accept­able sub­sti­tute for “cool.” Then a cool boy in Mont­gomery Coun­ty got Span­ish Mono, and that became the trendy thing to do, qui­et­ly gain­ing momen­tum among pop­u­lar tables until someone’s fat friend learned about it, and then with­in months every­body start­ed doing it except for the smart moti­vat­ed girls who want to write for news­pa­pers some­day.

Unlike reg­u­lar mono, the kiss­ing dis­ease, Span­ish Mono can only be con­tract­ed from heavy con­tact with the gen­i­tal sweat of an infect­ed. For uncool kids who can’t find a “Span­ish Mono Spon­sor,” rob­bing gym clothes is usu­al­ly the only option. On the first day of con­tact, the skin around the eyes gets dark and puffy, and there’s a very dis­tinct cough; it sounds like a click­ing from the throat, like there’s a bunch of mar­bles in there. 95% of those who get Span­ish Mono pass away by the sec­ond week, but most vic­tims argue it was all worth it.

“I’ve nev­er been cool. Francesca Bar­ber hooked up with me last night. I’m final­ly hap­py,” said Chris Phipps, min­utes before his death.

Phipps promised that he was going to take me to the Spring Dance, so… thanks, Span­ish Mono.

“The way my son caught this dis­ease, and what has hap­pened to him, I just hope it’s a les­son,” said Phipps’ moth­er Leslie. “Span­ish Mono is a bad thing. It’s a hor­ri­ble thing. Hor­ri­ble means cool now right?”

For the record, it does. ♦