Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sick of the Swine Flu

I'm sick, and the Swine Flu--er, the H1N1 virus--is the culprit. However, I'm not exhibiting the typical symptoms associated with influenza. My nose isn't running, I don't feel like crap, and I don't have a fever. In fact, the only symptom I have seems to be irritability.

Ok, that was really corny and I'm ashamed of writing it. But my point is that I'm tired of hearing about this disease and how bonkers people are going worrying about it. Yeah, I get it. It's a more virulent strain of flu. But I'm also pretty sure it's not the Black Plague. With any luck this will all blow over soon...but probably not before someone figures out a way to profit from it. Think "I survived the Swine Flu" t-shirts.

Now, I don't mean to diminish or make light of the seriousness of any illnesses or challenges people have to face. But our recent class discussion about how almost anything can be mined for writing purposes really has me wondering: when will we see the first Swine-Flu inspired book about some brave soul's harrowing struggle with this insidious virus, and how many more will follow? The Swine Flu has almost become a "fad" (bear with me) in the sense that it's inspired endless jokes and currently inhabits the short-term memory of popular culture.

Our current epidemic has a very SARS-like feel to it--unlike AIDS, which stuck around after its discovery and is now a daily fact of life for millions of people worldwide. Let's hope the Swine Flu turns out to be little more than a silly fad, and not something more serious and enduring.

Some Shameless Promotion

The Helix is coming out at the end of this week, so I'd like to remind everyone to go pick up a copy...

Also, I apologize in advance if anyone wastes fifteen minutes of their life reading any garbage by some Massie guy. That's fifteen minutes you'll never get back.

I'm Your Huckleberry

Though I grew up in the 1990's, I sometimes feel like I missed out on a significant chunk of the culture due to the overprotective nature of my mother, who wouldn't even let me watch The Simpsons until I was about fourteen. She was concerned about how disrespectful Bart was to Homer.

In recent years, perhaps due to fatigue or the fact that she can't win this battle anymore, she's lightened up on my kid brother Conor; he's fourteen now and he's been watching Family Guy (*way* cruder than the Simpsons) for several years. Where am I going with this? Well, my mother's restrictions also included a whole library of great movies rendered unsuitable for my naive and innocent mind. A little blood here, the "f bomb" there, a creamy tit or two--all these meant I would be spending the next couple hours in my room.

Over a decade later, I'm slowly discovering some quality movies made during my childhood. Last weekend while flipping through the TV channels my mother stumbled on the movie "Tombstone," which I'd never heard of, and a lengthy discussion of the film's merits ensued between her and my father. My father then explained to me that it's a western based on the true story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

I cringed--westerns aren't really my thing.
"You'll like it," he promised. "It's good."
"When was it made?" I asked.
"Early nineties," he told me.

Ah. Of course. The Dark Ages. Naturally we had to watch the film, and I've been pissing my roommate off pretending to be Doc Holliday ever since.