Tuesday, May 31, 2005


We were married three years ago on a beautiful summer night in a kibbutz near Tel Aviv. I remember how beautiful my wife looked and how much in love we were (still are). We were inseparable then.

We recently visited a friend with whom I've lost touch. The last time we were at his home was one month before our wedding. The planning was beginning to take its toll but we still remained true to each other, inseparable.

He greeted us in his living room. We were shown into the house by his wife. We hugged and shook hands upon seeing each other for the first time since. When we sat down he broke into wild laughter and his wife's face slowly broke out with an infectious grin."What", I asked, "is so funny?"

"Well", he said, "I remember that when you two were here three years ago, before your wedding, you were sitting next to each other all the time. She held your hand, kissing it very gently and you wouldn't even leave her to go to the bathroom".

I wondered how that was relevant to his laughter. So I said "How is that relevant to your laughter?"

"Well, look at you now. Three years later and you're sitting on different couches all together. No more hand touching, kissing. Now you really know what it's like to be married."

I thought it was a funny observation and it reminded me of a recent thought I had after reading a study published on the infectious quality of the common cold. The cold is by far the most common complaint seen in a primary clinic. It is transferred by hand to hand contact and costs the U.S. a tremendous amount in healthcare costs.

The authors, attempted to study the infectious quality of this virus. They wondered what percentage of partners of individuals infected with the common cold would show symptoms attributed to the virus. Their results: 38% rate of transmitted infection.

Of course this is an average, which brings me to my next point. I would have loved to see subgroups incorporated into the study. Maybe stratisfying the groups into newlyweds, couples married >1 year but <3; and couples married for more than three years. I have my hypothesis on how the subgroup analysis would pan out. I think it would look something like this:

Newlyweds: Rate of transmitted infection 80%.
>1 year but <3 years: Rate of transmitted infection is 40%
Couples married more than three years: Rate of co-infection too insignificant to be detected using current scientific methods.

Try not to think about what my hypothesis says about my life.