Watch out, Ebola: ‘Tis the seasonal jolly-bug going around campus

Agnes Cho

    Year after year a curious, though brief, epidemic strikes on a worldwide scale, making its mark on many individuals. It can be highly contagious, and if transmitted within the window period, it manifests very quickly—in a matter of seconds in some remarkable cases. Although it occasionally receives media coverage, the epidemic is not addressed to the public, as many overlook its significance. 

  No official indicator or medical test exists for it as of yet, but it can be unmistakably identified through the following signs and symptoms: excessive friendliness, frequent smiling, uninhibited conversation-making with strangers, behavioral shift toward more charitable tendencies, abnormally considerate behavior, more altruism and goodwill, unfounded idealism and obsession with miracles.   

   More specifically, those afflicted with this strange condition seem to be under the mistaken impression that they experience sentiments of warmth and coziness despite the snow and chilly weather, that are characteristic of the epidemic’s window period. 

   It should also be noted that they repeatedly emphasize the idea of witnessing “the best time of the year” when describing their condition. 

  Cutting edge medical research suggests that these properties belong to a phenomenal, age-old yet recurring phenomenon called the seasonal jolly-bug. 

Even Villanova is susceptible to this bug— in fact, many students and faculty have already become vulnerable to it.

  As a result, the campus becomes friendlier, brief acknowledgements and exchanges between unfamiliar individuals become more sincere and victims demonstrate an unbridled desire to spread their cheer, doing things such as climbing ladders to hang pretty lights on lampposts and adorn tall trees. 

   The window period of this highly transmissible bug seems to begin immediately after Thanksgiving. 

   As soon as the clock strikes Turkey Hour, we become stricken with an odd change in behavior—it appears that this bug blurs the sight affixed on ourselves and instead forces our eyes to refocus on others.     

  With all the signs and symptoms in mind, perhaps we can then surmise that this epidemic is not so devastating for the world. 

  After all, the bug seems to make humanity better, brighter and overall more hopeful during the short month when it manifests most actively.

 It affects most people, besides the few who are immune—namely the Grinches and Scrooges (depending on the particular species of the bug to which they are unaffected)—and can be spread without any physical contact. 

   The bug can be passed through a mere smile, wave, amiable verbal exchange or even cordial eye contact, all means of transmission that are also symptoms of an increasingly peaceful and ameliorated society. 

   So the questions follow: Why does this jolly-bug only come around once a year? 

 Why does it not manifest more frequently if it produces such positive results in human behavior? 

   All tongue-in-cheek metaphors aside, why do people not normally behave as they do during the holidays if everyone can agree that they themselves and others, for that matter, are exponentially more agreeable when December arrives? 

    Is the good holiday behavior a high standard of conduct that can only be met for a short time, much like a child can only be on his or her best behavior for as long as a parent is watching with a reward in hand? 

    Is it too much effort to be so genuine and generous all year-round? 

     On the contrary, is the impulse for such friendly behavior natural but people only feel brave enough or encouraged to act on it when they are given the temporary license to be themselves when others do it too? 

   Perhaps it is simply tradition—you are supposed to act more charitable, more pleasant, more caring, much happier during the holidays, because that is the way it has always been and undoubtedly, friendly gestures and holiday cheeriness are closely associated with this season. 

   But if people are capable of being so decent for a month, why can they not continue the rest of the time? 

   Thus, the nature of the “holiday bug” truly does suit this phenomenon.

   Its life span is short, the intensity of its effects ebb with time, and it is highly contagious for the brief time it is active. 

    The rest of the time, it seems, this bug is dormant.

   In response, all we can do is revel in the window period during which the bug spreads and allows us to embody the spirit of goodwill and unprejudiced affability.