Nothing Is More Viral Than The Internet And 24/7 "News"
Remember the Salmonella outbreak last year (or was it e-coli, who can remember?), the one blamed on tomatoes, and ultimately linked to jalapenos, or some other vegetable that wasn't originally suspect, let alone a fruit?
Sure, blame the poor ham hock for causing a worldwide pandemic, not to mention the mass hysteria all the media attention has created.
So far, the Swine flu, though widespread, appears rather mild, if not mundane. Nowhere near the devastation of the deadly flu pandemics of years past, like the ones blamed on Spaniards in 1918, on all of Asia in 1957, and on cute little birdies in recent go rounds.
Now, the poor little piggy, forced to wear a mask at market, gets the blame for a virus officially known to those who study such things as H1N1.
Not quite as ominous sounding as Swine flu, but at least it lets Porky and Miss Piggy off the hook.
We recall flu outbreaks when we were kids. Entire schools and businesses shut down, because everyone was home in bed, achy, feverish, coughing up sputum, sneezing, and feeling generally lousy.
The news that the flu had broken out in your state or city was not the top story on the evening newscast, and certainly, it wasn't headlined as BREAKING NEWS, as the media outlets brandish almost everything these days, from reports of cloudy weather to a change of a single point in the Dow.
And certainly, no one blamed the flu on the lowly swine. [Frankly, the beast had enough going against him already, the poor porker.]
We had the flu. We stayed in bed. Drank plenty of fluids. Sought pity from our parents. And watched The Andy Griffith Show and Let's Make A Deal on our giant, 13-inch, black and white TVs, on which little was heard of flu pandemics.
Truthfully, watching Monty Hall open boxes and Opie go fishing with pa was a heck of a lot more fun than watching Wolf Blitzer and Sanjay Gupta go on and on and on about the dreaded Swine flu. [Or worse still, watching the pundits on CNBC intertwine the darn swine into the latest news on the markets in Japan. Well, it gives them something to talk about.]
Of course, the world is a heck of a lot smaller these days, with intercontinental jet travel available to every disease-carrying Mexican, Asian, and Somalian (because these dreaded diseases never originate in the United States, after all. Hand sanitizer has taken care of that!), and Swine flu, no doubt transmitted by flying pigs, whose cyber-droppings bombard us like so many rads from the sun, the lead story on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, and ESPN2.
Film at 11 -- and at 11:01, 11:02, 11:03...
If only we'd turn off our television sets, cover our coughs, wash our hands, and, for goodness sake, let flying pigs fly!