“With friends like these who needs enemies?” It’s an old quote but nowadays it takes on new dimensions with the opportunity to spread the H1N1 virus. The very first thing my so called friends do, as soon as they can pry themselves out of bed after the ravages of a flu, is come to my coffee shop. This is of course one of the more perfect venues for communication both of verbal conversation and spit. If you have ever sat with someone with strong back lighting and with a black area directly behind them you will know just how much spit a person spews during an ordinary conversation. This lighting condition emphasizes the flying spit just like the dust motes are sometimes brilliantly lit inside a house when the sun shines in obliquely through a window. Dust motes are usually no problem for a healthy human but human spewed virus’s are a potentially deadly one.
So far these new H1N1 flu viruses haven’t been particularly vicious but those of us who have studied up on the 1918-20 flu epidemic know that the first round wasn’t particularly dangerous. I recommend reading, The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history by John M. Barry. But, when it hit the second time a few months later it killed somewhere between 20 and 100 million people. I don’t know why the death count has such wide estimates but in any case this new flu is not something to be sneezed at or giving lightly to what you think of as your friends. So, I am particularly annoyed that my so called friends, who claim that they are not idiots, but are so callous or uncaring or just plain stupid as to bring their disease to a public table and expose us all to their potentially deadly problem. They say it wasn’t a particularly bad flu. But, that was them and everyone’s body is different and no one ever knows just how sick someone will get with a particular disease until they get it. Amongst the small number of people I know personally one died this week and another has been in the hospital for over a week. Giving a flu to either of those two people might have killed them perhaps it did kill one.
This bringing a flu to my public space has happened me several times now. Typically, after talking to the group for a while someone will ask the bearer of this new disease, “Are you feeling okay. Your voice sounds a little different.” The answer has been, “Oh, I’m okay now. I got over the flu and I had a really high temperature but it is gone now. I felt rotten this morning but I’m feeling better now and it is just a deep cough and a swollen throat that’s why my voice sounds funny.”
Back in Medieval times when people came into a village with a communicable disease they would get stoned and I don’t mean with drugs. They were driven out-of-town. Back then people didn’t understand germ theory and didn’t know exactly how a disease was transmitted but they were knowledgable enough to know you didn’t want to be any where near someone with a disease. You could stone them at a distance and communicate to them in that rather solid way your disgust at their bringing a disease into your area.
Nowadays, when people are better informed about how these diseases are transmitted they appear to be doing everything possible to maximize the transmission rate between people and kill their acquaintances. Even the public transportation industry seems to be encouraging the maximum amount of travel possible even during the coming flu epidemic. If only the message was out, “Avoid travel while sick or until a week after you get your flu vaccinations”, it would help a lot. But, No, even those simple suggestions would hurt the vacation industry and the airline industry and they are already having monetary woes—stupid people.
It is because people as individuals are so stupid and as a population appear to be even stupider that I believe there isn’t any hope for humanity surviving the all too obvious catastrophe on the immediate horizon. (1) The population explosion with its detritius exhausting the Earth’s ability to clean up after what humanity dumps on it. (2) The stresses that overuse of nature’s resources worsens the likelihood for a Superwar. In that war the huge stockpiles of H-bombs will finally be used for the only thing which they can be used for — the release an enormous amount of energy at a specific times and places. That will probably be your home town. I can’t really say Good-bye to you at that time because it isn’t likely to be good in any sense of the word so perhaps a better departing statement would bust plain. Bye-bye!
My favorite line in the movies is from Plan Nine From Outer Space – by Ed Wood, “You see, you see! Your stupid minds! You Earth People are stupid, stupid!” It is generally considered the worst movie of all time but it did have its enlightening moments.