Over the past 50 years, throughout North America there has been an explosion of reported cases of Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (better known by its acronym, KIDS). No socio-demographic group has been spared by this invasive and intractable outbreak. In fact, I myself have been waging my own personal battle with KIDS for the past 18 years.
According to humanitarian relief agencies’ longitudinal studies dating back to the 19th century, the number of known cases of KIDS is at its highest level in human history. Alarmingly, it shows no signs of reversing its upward trend. For millions of couples facing the long-term ordeal of KIDS, there is no relief in sight.
Scientists have been unable to unlock the mysterious inner workings of KIDS. But they do know that contracting the condition has been conclusively linked to unprotected sexual contact, often during bouts of excessive alcohol consumption. Warning signs that you may have contracted KIDS include an inability to maintain an orderly household, often accompanied by a disregard for clutter and chaos. Another warning sign is a sudden indifference to the presence of vomit, nasal mucous, or fecal or urinary discharge on one’s clothes or person.
What makes this epidemic of KIDS so debilitating is that there is very little anyone can do to combat it. Once contracted, in the vast majority of cases, the condition, while not usually fatal, typically lasts the rest of their lives. People coping with even the mildest form of KIDS often report that the condition gets progressively more difficult to manage over time, as the virus mutates in appearance, continually grows in size, and in later stages becomes increasingly resistant to attempts to control it. As people struggle to adapt to living with KIDS, they report that close friends they’ve known for years but who have not contracted KIDS often avoid them like the plague.
Early stage KIDS is often associated with significant sleep deprivation lasting up to eight months. During this “incubator” period, common side effects include a significant decline in the victim’s range of vocabulary, typically accompanied by an uncontrollable urge to speak in a high-pitched chirpy voice about successful bowel movements.
Scientists have identified an alarming phenomenon in people suffering with KIDS – a noticeable deterioration in their mental faculties. They speculate that this intellectual impairment may be caused by prolonged exposure to vacuous television programming dedicated to letters of the alphabet or possibly due to being subjected to endless recitations of drippy songs about Baby Belugas or beautiful days in the neighborhood.
Surprisingly, after a few years, some KIDS sufferers have reported brief intervals of partially regained lucidity and brief episodes where the worst aspects of KIDS appear to go into in remission. They can sometimes regain normal sleep cycles and are able to enjoy more adult-themed TV programming. There have even been reported instances in which people living with KIDS have experienced momentary fits of laughter at birthday parties, zoos, and little league games – but these anecdotal stories have yet to be substantiated with empirical evidence.
One of the most common ailments afflicting people with KIDS is a perceived loss of control, independence and spontaneity. They often report feeling chained to endless cycles of vehicular transport to soccer games, piano recitals, and doctor’s appointments, taking the place of time previously used for hiking with friends, playing tennis, and working out at the gym. As a result of this hard-to-break cycle, another common side effect of KIDS is unsightly weight gain and a marked decline in concern for personal appearance.
It is common for people with advanced stages of KIDS to experience wild swings of emotion and increased levels of stress. If you encounter an otherwise rational adult barking out phrases like who do you think paid for that? or would it kill you to say ‘thank you?’ or because I said so!, the chances are high the person is battling KIDS. Adults exposed to KIDS for long periods of time often suffer a dramatic depletion of their long-term savings. Some studies suggest this steep decline in personal net worth intensifies around the 18th through 22nd year of living with KIDS.
The good news is that there are glimmers of hope. For some people facing an uphill struggle with KIDS, symptoms of frustration and exhaustion tend to fade about the time when the financial strain of managing KIDS has passed its peak. There are dozens of documented cases where victims of KIDS can resume relatively normal lives somewhere around 18 years from the onset of the condition, engaging in conversations about politics or professional sports teams, or taking long drives that no longer require emergency pit stops to eliminate bodily fluids.
While there are several effective methods for the prevention of KIDS, currently there is no cure. The unsettling reality is that the existence of KIDS has become a global epidemic. Ever since my wife and I first received the shocking diagnosis 18 years ago that we had both become exposed to KIDS, our lives have been consumed just trying to manage this condition.
But here is the oddest part about this crisis. Even though coming down with KIDS has radically turned my life upside down, drained my life savings and caused me endless worry, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had never gotten KIDS. For me, KIDS is one lifelong condition for which I don’t want to find a cure.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2012