Flu the coop
Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
You know, the instant I write I’m not worried about the swine flu, the thing will evolve, and we’ll have a new Black Plague on our hands.
OK, now read that sentence back to yourself and consider what a monumental ego the author must have to believe that all he has to do is type a few words to alter the course of humanity.
Of course, you and I both know what I was trying to say. I was trying to say that it would be just my bad luck to predict things one way, and as soon as I did so, I would be embarrassed at being so wrong—and being wrong in print is forever.
OK, now read that sentence back to yourself and consider what a monumental ego the author must have to believe that his minor embarrassment in any way compares to the bad luck of millions dying from a virus. “Just his bad luck,” indeed.
Of course, you and I both know what I was trying to say. I was trying to say that journalists who make predictions are very likely to be shown wrong. And when they are wrong, they should be embarrassed.
That said, some 36,000 people die in the United States every year from the flu—the regular flu, not the swine flu. I had an aunt, a fairly young and exuberantly healthy one, die a few years ago from the flu. It’s serious business. But this isn’t ebola or some damned thing. It’s the flu, and so far, it’s responding to treatment. But those deaths in Mexico are a big question mark to me, and near as I can tell from my obsessive internet searches, nobody knows why those people died while people here haven’t.
Still, I’m far from worried. I’m a little disgusted by the ways xenophobes are trying to take advantage of the disease by closing our borders to Mexico. And I’m really sick of the 24-7 news cycle, but don’t you think it’s a peculiar arrogance on my part to complain about the media overcovering the swine flu, and then putting it on our cover? Or maybe it’s just hypocrisy.