Ah Choooo….

For as long as I can remember, allergies have been a part of my life. I credit the DNA from my father’s side of the family for bestowing these on me, as the entire Ferguson clan was a collection of red, watery eyes and continuous sniffling. Regardless of the season, there always seemed to be some allergens in the environment that would taunt me. I spent the first quarter century of my life in southern New England (Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) accepting my condition without question.

In my later twenties, I moved to Cleveland, Ohio. When people noticed me sneezing, the locals would tell me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.” Personally, I couldn’t tell any difference in “sneezing habits.”

After eleven years in Ohio, I moved back to southern New England – specifically into the Hartford, CT area. Interestingly, when I exhibited allergy-related symptoms, people would tell me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.” Strangely, I had not heard this while growing up in the area. Had we been invaded by pollens during my decade away?

Upon retirement twenty-three years later, I relocated to southeast Tennessee, bringing my allergies with me. Sure enough, local folks started telling me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.”

So I see two possible explanations. (1) Everybody (with the possible exception of folks in Arizona) thinks they live in the worst spot in the country for allergies, or (2) I have had the uncanny luck of taking up residence in the three most allergy-laden spots in the country. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

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