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I’ve just returned from learning about and being immunized against all the nasties that could possibly hitch a ride on my insides during my trip to Cambodia, and, to be honest, for some reason it made me feel a bit like a super finicky, overly squeamish, ugly American.

I mean, as a child, when I visited the Philippine provinces – the place where my folks grew up and where I was born – my parents threw caution to the wind, didn’t get shots, and allowed me and my brothers to chase after chickens, pet the local wildlife, brush our teeth with the water from a water pump, wear shorts, tank tops and chinelas (flip-flops), and order food from the street vendors. The most we returned home with were several mosquito bites, super dark tans, and fairy stories about the little, brown, bearded men who lived in the hill in front of my uncle’s old house.

No puking. No chills. No sweats. No crazy runs. Definitely none of the horrors described in the literature given to me by the vaccination company, which specializes in travel immunizations.

Got Hepatitis A? Get ready to have flu-like symptoms, jaundice and the runs. Got typhoid? Get ready for high fever, stomach pains, and, you guessed it, the runs. Got polio? Get ready for nothing, cause you ain’t moving after you get that ish. For good measure, whatever god you believe in will probably also throw in the runs and a bite from a rabid, ankle-biting raccoon or monkey because you were dumb enough to forgo immunizations before traveling abroad,

Yeah. Sounds unpleasant. But, to quote Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, how could a world that makes such wonderful things be bad? Just look at that glorious photo!

But, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Photo: tylerdurden1 / Flickr

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