I rolled out of bed and walked to the kitchen to start the coffee. As I walked, my knee made a strange clacking noise. In the past, I've popped, creaked and crackled, even squeaked—but I have never clacked.
As I shook off the morning groggies, I noticed I was feeling a little woozy. Achy, too… and hot.
“Great!” I thought, “I must be coming down with something!” It was then that I was jolted by the most terrifying thought: Swine flu!
I made a clacking-dash to the computer; to learn as much as I could about this malady, since I had totally ignored the glut of information to date. What would happen to me? What could I do? Could I continue to free-range, or must I confine myself to bed? Thank goodness for the internet!
What I sought was a quick and easy answer to my questions. Something like: “Eat a hearty breakfast that's high in saturated fats, with plenty of beer—beer is good for swine flu!" Instead, I found page after page of conflicting information—it was confusing!
In order to spare others the uncertainty and fright that I experienced, I’ve organized what I learned into five basic facts. This is all one needs to know about swine flu.
Fact #1 – You can’t catch swine flu from pigs. Oh sure, it’s suspected that the very first case came as a result of an indiscretion by a Mexican hog vaquero and one of his wards, but there was a chicken involved, too. Again, this is only speculation, but unless you’re planning to participate in similar deviant behavior—don’t worry about catching swine flu.
Fact # 2 – The same goes for pork products. The virus travels by air. Well, actually, it’s sneeze blasts, snot, spew, spittle and phlegm—but not pork. The sweaty fat guy that brushed against you as he exited the elevator doesn’t count.
Fact #3 – Swine flu is a misnomer. The flu has nothing to do with hogs. It was originally identified as a normal, seasonal flu by a researcher who also happens to sit on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. This researcher remembered, all to well, the renegades from the National Hog Farmers Convention of 1986.
These were a handful of guys who, perhaps, had one too many, and in a fit of farm-humor got a couple of cows drunk. Their mistake, really, was in taking video of the results, and releasing the footage to the local television station.
Again, it was supposed to be a joke when they told the news people that the cows were afflicted with a recently discovered disease called Mad Cow. They should have realized that news people are uncommonly gullible, and will repeat just about anything you tell them, verbatim.
Anyway, this researcher remembered the trouble the hog farmers’ little stunt had caused, and decided to exact revenge by calling this year’s seasonal flu: Swine Flu.
Fact #4 – Being reviewed for accuracy.
Fact #5 – Experts disagree on what vaccine to use, or how the vaccine should eventually be administered. Recent research indicates that inhalers show some promise. It’s hoped that one or two snorts will do the trick.
For now, if you long for the stabbing pain of a vaccination needle, have a desire to gamble your future health in the name of unknown side effects, or are really, really lonely—go get a flu shot. Otherwise? Forget it.
That’s what I grunt did, and I’m squeeeel fine!