Speaking as a Brian, I can confirm that this is true…
In my 1970s childhood, everyone got chicken pox sooner or later. Whenever I felt unwell, I would eagerly look for the red blotches that would confirm my destiny. The ‘pocks’, as I thought they were, each individual mark representing a single ‘pock’.
For reasons that appear now strange in hindsight, I don’t recall ever contemplating what chickens had to do with it. For all I knew, the bird might have been named after the disease, rather than the other way around, so normal was the pox.
I didn’t know how you got it, but I knew you could only get it once. This lent chicken pox a certain right-of-passage cachet. Until my own skin was scabbed over with itchy blisters, I felt I was missing out.
Eventually I was struck down. After a week or so it was over. I was quite proud of myself. I had had my pox.
Exciting times. Pity the Jaxons and Harpers with their coddled modern pox-free lives…
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.