Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pandemics

Last week, the good folks at New York Magazine published an "Apocalypse Handbook." I suppose no one really thought that New York Magazine was trying to do a public service. They are trying to sell issues, after all. But it was in a guise as a helpful guide to what one would do in the event of a major disaster. Well this "helpful" guide got me in a panic. The article quoted experts who said NY officials are constantly "reactive" and don't anticipate and make the appropriate preparations for any sort of major calamity that could happen in the city. Then the guide went through a variety of scenarios--Smallpox, Hurricane, Nuclear Plant Explosion, Chemical Spill, Earthquake...you name it. For some of the scenarios, the outcome was fairly optimistic, but for most of the scenarios, you could kiss your ass good bye.

The inspiration of this article was the growing fear of an avian-flu pandemic. The article was disturbingly very vivid in how an innocent traveler from Hong Kong could create an avian-flu pandemic. I hadn't really been following the avian flu story, but I sure did now. I was asking everyone I knew, "So, are you worried about the bird flu?"

That same evening last week when I was reading the article, I went to a good-bye party for someone leaving my old work. It was good to see everyone and I had fun. Towards the end of the party, a plate of fried chicken that someone had ordered came out. Well, I hadn't eaten dinner and I grabbed a piece. So there I was with my chicken leg and talking all about the bird flu. I was like "Yeah, I'm really worried about this bird flu," chomp, chomp. "It's really scary." Chomp, chomp.

Clearly, I forgot what I was eating when I was trying to do my act of public service.

6 comments:

Byf said...

Don't feel bad. My boy and I chowed down on pork chops a couple of weeks ago, then watched one of our favorite movies. "Babe."

This whole avian flu thing is overblown. Thanks to CNN, mostly.

EM said...

The last time i had the flu, my arms and traps really hurt like i'd been flapping my "wings" for hours, so i'm pretty sure i've had the avian flu already. it's really not that bad, so fear not. ;)

aftertheboyf said...

Now my alterego has some professional responsibitlity for these media scares so the least I can do is re-assure you. Unless you live with lots of birds (rare in NY I guess?) or regularly dry out infected bird intestines and powder and snort them you are totally safe. Each as much chicken as you like.
It reminds me of the Mad Cow Crisis here in the UK. At the height of our worries one friend told me he'd given up beef while SMOKING A CIGARETTE!
In the end BSE killed some few hundred people... smoking as ever kills one in three of those who suck on the nasty week ;-)
Dave

Anonymous said...

From Jayne: The experts say the odds of a pandemic are increasing. They are likely correct - it will happen sometime. What can I do about it? Very little. I also did not purchase the HomeLand Security survival kit for my home (see their website - you need duct tape, sheets of plastic, food, water, etc.) If the worst happens, it happens. Do what is possible/practical to prepare for the future, realize that what you do will likely have to be changed, and enjoy today. Be kind. Be helpful. Laugh.

Aaron Weber said...

Have you seen the "Ask me about Bird Flu" t-shirts? http://www.cafepress.com/h5n1

teahouse said...

Yeah, I just ate a bunch of fried chicken yesterday. If anyone is going to get avian flu, it's yours truly. But I promise I won't cough on you.