I’m not allergic to anything, but pass the tissue just in case



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Strawberries and peanuts? Bring ‘em on. I have so much tolerance for lactose that I oughta do a testimonial for the dairy farmers. If there was a way to insist on extra gluten in the bread on my Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt at Subway, you would find me at the head of that queue. Shellfish? Can’t get enough of those exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates. If only I lived closer to bodies of aqua. Ragweed, sagebrush, pollen? Gimme a coupla lungfuls. It’s like breathing fresh air.

The women in my life, however, are not so fortunate.

My wife, mother and sister have suffered much of their lives. As a little kid, when I went looking for my mom, I soon came to learn if I just hewed close to the trail of used Kleenexes, more often than not, I would find her at the other end, sniffling.

Less than exhaustive research (the first website I land on is “Allergy Facts,” published by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a trade group of M.D.-types) tells me hayfever affects between 10-30 percent of all adults in the U.S. and as many as 40 percent of children. These docs estimate that more than 60 million people in this country suffer and the number is trending upward. Some estimates are than 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some sort of allergic condition.

My God, we’re surrounded by snot.

During the last couple of springs and falls, I have found…