La gripe porcina.
SARS 2: Pig in the City.
Please excuse me while I change my pants.
The Black Death of this generation carries many names--only several of which I am currently privy to. But what is H1N1 exactly? I'll tell you what it is--it's the 'hush' that falls over a conversation upon news of it befalling another victim, perhaps a friend of someone partaking in said conversation. It's a spirit of fear, and a spirit of alarm, and a spirit of a bunch of other panic-like synonyms my thesaurus pooped out. But more accurately, it's a spirit of misinformation being carried by the mainstream media. Which is why I'm here to set the record straight. And just from a quick glance at the headlines, let me tell you, this fear is justified because apparently pig flu is scary as shit on a shark. I mean, it kills people, as clearly evidenced by the data in this ominous infographic. There's even a contrasting red skull to further illustrate swine flu's insatiable appetite for blood, cutting a swath through the world's 50-odd million who died over the course of the last 300 days.
one ten-thousandth of a percent says your time's up, hoss
Judging from the statistics, I'd say you'd best put your gaddamn affairs in order, because that foreign sneeze you just sucked up has a 0.00011% chance of dragging your pansy ass to the grave. Crank up the Muse, and unlock the fallout shelter, because I swear I've read about epidemics like this in the Old Testament.
Well, then you can imagine how terrified my family was to hear that our dear mother had contracted a confirmed case of the dreaded "la gripe" from some oblivious, wiener-headed, little niño in the Spanish class she taught.
As her asthma-ravaged immune system dug trenches and loaded whimsical, pig-shaped cartridges into their antibody rifles, she laid down on the living room couch, resigned to allow the battle to run its course. We were as powerless as the flu effects were immediate; doing our best just to keep her comfortable, keep her company. She watched football with her sons. She did the crypto-quote. She drank tea. She slept. She talked on the phone with her daughter. She watched The Office. She slept some more. Finally, after four days of a life reclined...
...she went back to work. Her mission was twofold: there were still children to be taught "yo soy una pizza." And she had still to pass the swine flu to any other teachers in dire need of a few days off work.
But before life could return completely to normal, just like any other good mother in it 'for the lark,' she proceeded to give the flu to the rest of her family, who all spent the rest of the week lounging around in sweatpants, watching reruns of Nitro Circus and eating ramen from the coffee pot.
What, did the Angel of Death completely miss the big, yellow "H1N1 quarantine" memo stapled to the roof of our house? However, a more probable explanation would be my entire family sharing a Herculean bloodline with white blood cells shaped like biceps and machine guns. Or more realistically still, has the swine flu been just another case of big brother media pulling a fast one on the entire too-stupid-to-know-better-world? I feel like we're all out on our collective porches, angrily stomping on a flaming bag of crap labeled "hamthrax," while CNN hooligans with cameras are hooting and hollering from an unmarked van parked across the street.
Perhaps looking at a "bigger picture," with some "facts" might serve to better educate those still wearing haz-mat suits and hiding in their basements, subsisting on Funyuns and Tamiflu.
just kidding, you're fine. look out for leprosy though
As you can probably see [click image to enlarge], much to the chagrin of certain fear-mongering, ratings-starved journalists, is that this bigger picture for H1N1 appears exponentially less grim when you look at what you have a better chance of getting killed by. The only difference, is that "Dengue," "Encephalitis," and "War" apparently don't make for very good news. "Diarrheal" diseases might have made the cut, but they don't make for savory dinnertime conversation.
However, everyone knows the flu, and they damn sure know pigs.
But what we didn't know, is that together, they will can might probably won't kill you!
As part of an internet citizenship that knows better, I believe it's our civil duty to shut the hell up about swine flu already.
(sweet infographic credit: Michael Paukner over at Flickr)