Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Swine Flu: The Natalee Holloway of Infectious Diseases

You got your nondescript, run-of-the-mill bad things happen to folks strep throat and chicken pox, and then you've got your missing young blond white woman of infection. Swine flu 2009 certainly appears to be the missing young blond white woman.

Why this insidious little bastard even supposedly focuses on attacking our young, beautiful people, bypassing the typical old, ugly folks killed by less-noteworthy flu. Ring the media news cycle bells everywhere, we've got beautiful people under attack!

In internet parlance, swine flu has gone viral.

It's the disease to talk about around the water cooler (if we were still congregating around things like water coolers). It's the hip ailment with local angle news stories: "Hey, we got swine flu here, too!" It's "Wolverine" meets "Watchmen". It has "legs" and is major "box office".

Swine flu has worked its way into the "public consciousness" to the point where statements such as:
"'Closing schools is not effective' in halting the spread of the virus, said Dr. Richard E. Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.".--NYT, 5.4.09
Only get in the way. We don't want the story to end. Like the hurricane...it's always more fun when the Category 5 is churning off the coast. Actual landfall is always such a letdown...

We don't want to find the dead body of the missing young white blond woman. We just want the story, the diversion, to last. Because otherwise we have to go back to thinking about our jobs, our shrinking possibilities, the hard work it will take.

Why fear the dull, daily things when we can wrap our paranoia into something we'd be proud to announce to the world on the news: I have Swine Flu! I have had a brush with infectious disease celebrity!

On the other hand, what a crushing bummer to find one merely has run-of-the-mill, unsexy strep throat. So close to fame...so close.

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