A Brief and Wildly Untrue History of Hay Fever
So, the British Summer appears to be upon us in all its half-hearted, muggy glory. Bumbling slowly along with all the grace of a short-sighted giant in stilettos carrying a heavy shopping basket full of insect repellant and sun cream.
Hay fever, in this repulsive train crash of an analogy, is the wart on that giant’s nose, the foul stench of dried sweat emanating from its pores, the head-lice in its sticky hair – an unwelcome parasitic stowaway gleefully making its obnoxious presence known.
But was it always thus?
I have spent some time recently doing some in-depth research into hay fever and its murky history. I have waded through the myths, the rumours and the lies with my waterproof trousers of discernment in order to ascertain the truth.
It is more horrible than any of us could have possibly imagined.
You might be surprised to discover that the phenomenon we now know as hay fever was originally an infamous, immortal 18th Century super villain. Let me paint you a picture.
Hay Fever was unwittingly brought to life in 1762 by a well-meaning Lithuanian farmer named Daniel Krusov. In his attempts to construct a new higher level of scarecrow, he accidentally created Artificial Intelligence.
The newly sentient Hay Fever awoke with a deep and insatiable anger. He wanted revenge on humanity. He did not know why, but he knew they needed to suffer. After brutally destroying Krusov and his family, Fever was chased into the forest mountains by furious and terrified Lithuanian townfolk.
This only served to exacerbate his inexorable hatred for the human race. He spent years roaming the Eastern European mountain ranges, killing for sport and setting up a profitable business selling affordable double glazing and conservatories to confused pensioners.
It was in this role that he met the nefarious Dr Henry Maccabeus Gove – an ancestor of the evil genius and brilliant educational reformer, Michael. Dr Gove had a profound influence on the impressionable young miscreant, teaching him to channel his anger and harness his natural kinship with pollen. Under Gove’s tutelage, Fever became a formidable and ferocious super villain, feared throughout Europe.
His reign of terror was unparalleled in the centuries before or since. He dramatically changed the political and grammatical climate of the time. None could challenge his power.
Fever’s rise continued, unabated, until 1834, when Dr Gove was killed by a band of young super heroes in an ill-fated plot to destroy the pollen-amorous maniac. Apoplectic in his rage, he vowed to enact revenge on the whole population of the earth.
At this point Hay joined forces with three more of Gove’s proteges – Cabin, Night and Jungle – to form a near-invincible villainous quartet that wreaked havoc on the four corners of the globe. For a terrible 18 months, ‘Fever Pitch’, as they became known, had an irrepressible iron grip on the entire planet. It was a dark time.
They went unchallenged until a Trinidadian housewife, known as Aunty Histamine, decided that enough was enough and took a stand against the oppressive regime. Armed only with a rolling pin and backed by a group of ladies from her local church, Histamine called on hitherto unknown powers to bring about an indefinite winter whilst also cutting off all supplies to Fever Pitch and their allies.
It was thus that she fulfilled the old prophecy, ‘feed a cold, starve a fever’.
Hay Fever was left dreadfully weakened and ultimately defeated, but Histamine found that she could not fully destroy her foe, such was his immense power. Instead she banished him from his body, and he became one with the pollen.
To this day, he is still at large and every summer he rages afresh in his attempt to bring about vengeance upon the human race, causing countless runny noses, itchy throats and streaming eyes.
He will never rest. His hatred cannot be quelled. He will find you. And he will make you cry.
Fortunately, he can’t do much more than that. So thank God for Aunty Histamine.