Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health Advisory

With disease information hitting all media venues at a cyclic rate and terror spreading about the possibility of an all-out H1N1 pandemic, I think it is high time that I, as a classically-educated biologist, skilled military tactician and logistician, and creative survivalist step in with some suggested measures of my own. Supposed experts are coming out of the woodwork with such eloquent admonitions as, “wash your hands,” so what’s one more voice; especially one from a guy who’s read a lot of graphic novels and books about zombie attacks? I’d say it’s all good advice. But first, there are two caveats. Foremost, this is a joke (albeit inappropriate and tasteless). Second, I’ll just go ahead and apologize up front. Sorry.

Since H1N1 is a considered a highly-contagious viral airborne pathogen, concerned persons worldwide are advised to purchase and don surgical facemasks to greatly reduce the potential of inhaling airborne salivary contaminants sneezed out by others. For about ten days, Michael Jackson won’t be the oddball. In fact, we will all be cool like him. Additionally, burkas may now be recognized for their medical advantages. No longer is it an issue of accommodating religious or cultural sensitivities, but health beliefs, too. If one is a hypochondriac in the throes of absolute panic about health, a space suit may also be worn. Should be it be desired, a tin foil hat will keep H1N1 from reading your brain waves. If you are a hypochondriac that no longer even leaves the house, continue to stack newspapers in your foyer, eat your macaroni and cheese, and still wear the tin foil hat. It will keep the virus from knowing you’re afraid of it.

Like all the other self-described experts, I, too, will sing the praises of repeated, obsessive hand-washing. Not only does this support the soap industry and indirectly the hand lotion industry, but also the manufacturers of rubbing alcohol. Should one believe it necessary, alcohol baths are a superb way to ensure total body sanitation. Please be careful, however, to avoid excessive breathing of the fumes, open flames, and certainly do not smoke while engaging in such a cleansing measure. Cigarettes, after all, were packed by the deviant swine in the tobacco industry, and may be contaminated.

Viruses, in general, are intolerant of ultraviolet light, so a more holistic option for reducing the likelihood of infection is nudity in total desert isolation. If you are prone to malignant carcinomas, be mindful of time spent nude with direct exposure to sunlight. The sun may kill all but the hardiest of pathogens (known loosely as extremophiles), but does promote cancer, sunburns, and dehydration. Drink lots of water, preferably from bottles untouched by pigs.

While much attention has been given to the orsine (pig) source of H1N1, let us also not forget that it also bears a strong genetic resemblance to avian (bird) flu, as well as human influenza strains. While Egypt has undertaken the drastic measure of killing all the pigs within their borders, we may do our part by also killing all the birds. They may not be carriers, but at least it will make us feel better. Due to the social and moral backlash of dispatching the human carriers, desert isolation and the adoption of nudism may be the best manner to avoid human contact.

In terms of supplies, there are several other items that should be purchased in addition to surgical masks. At the top of the list are GM and Chrysler automobiles. Thus far, there are no confirmed cases in any locations where these vehicles are being manufactured, so we may be assured that we are driving new cars known to be free of H1N1 contamination. Additionally, we will be doing our patriotic duty of “buying American” and supporting two failing enterprises that are in grave need of a public rally to their cause. GM is working closely with federal TARP representatives to study the economic potential of certifying their vehicles pathogen-free. Results are expected by 2015.

While the threat of pandemic conditions still very much lingers, it would also be wise to invest in the construction of bomb shelters. While there is no threat of bombs at present, this will prevent right-wing extremists from being hauled away to FEMA concentrations camps that are being built throughout the country. No complex locking mechanisms are necessary on these bomb shelters. A simple sign (and it can be hand written) stating, “gone to live in a FEMA trailer in Texas” will suffice. The FEMA agents will turn their attentions elsewhere and depart your property.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) asks that we all spay our pets. They also advise that we should also avoid all intimate relations with members of the bovine and avian species. The Moral Majority is considering extending this health advisory to humans, too, since they are currently the predominant catalyst for H1N1 infection, and because H1N1 is best reserved for marriage between a consenting man and woman.

While it may have been at one time permissible to use firearms to defend one’s property and family from surgical mask theft and marauding tin foil recyclers, Dr. Phil has recently issued a report that, “this is not okay.” He has suggests that we instead consider writing letters to trespassers that explain how we feel about their presence on our properties. Since these messages may be written in diseased paper, immediately douse the letters in rubbing alcohol and burn them to prevent infecting an intruder. Unwelcome guests are also frequently deterred by FEMA signs, though it would be helpful if these were created professionally, not spray painted on plywood.

It is also advisable to purchase alcoholic beverages in large quantities. While staples (bread, milk, etc) may seem a better investment, they are comprised of wheat, barley, or harvested from cows – all of which reside on farms. These farms may have pigs, too. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, the normally unacceptable empty calories found in beer are permissible. The ethanol itself in the beverages will sterilize whatever farm-grown components may be found within (barley, etc). When the pandemic reaches a crescendo that is difficult or impossible to tolerate, the memory of it can be easily reduced by the consumption of these alcoholic beverages, thereby also alleviating the likelihood of latent post-traumatic stress disorder. The whole experience will no longer be something you don’t wish to discuss or think about; it will be something you simply don’t remember. Please be sure to buy American-brewed alcohol.

Although they are manufactured in Brazil which, like Mexico, is to our south (and therefore suspect), the purchase of a few, high-quality Tramontina machetes will expedite the process of chopping wood for funeral byres, collecting kindling for sterilization fires, and eventually reducing hand-made, plywood FEMA signs to manageable fuel. To drastically reduce the possibility of purchasing a contaminated machete, immediately douse them in rubbing alcohol and burn them upon their arrival.

A final measure to preventing both the infection and spread of H1N1 is maritime refuge. Providing all ship passengers are screened and found to be healthy, a vacation at sea may be a suitable means by which to avoid all contact with infected persons. Yet even this is not without its risks. First, some vessels are not constructed for oceanic travel. Those that are not rated for such use should be avidly avoided. Second, be certain your vessel has ample supplies of alcohol, tin foil, and machetes to sustain a long stay away from infected lands. Ports are notorious for their disease transmission rates, and should be avoided at all costs. Finally, there are pirates in some waters which may attempt to hijack your ship for ransom or simply to take your machetes. But chances are, they will be unlikely to harass you if your ship is displaying a FEMA flag.

Lastly, if you already infected, please do not spitefully attempt to infect others as well. Simply write a letter about how angry it makes you feel, burn it as a health precaution, and visit a local doctor for some medication. Be prepared, however, to explain why you are wearing a burka, a tin foil hat, and carrying a machete and a lighter. Medical staff will also probably forward you to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who strongly advise that you never wear fur, and are collaborating with FEMA to construct nudist concentration camps in the desert to begin rehabilitation programs of UV exposure, public isolation, and mild immolation/sterilization techniques. Study results are due by 2020.

Copyright © 2009, Ben Shaw All Rights Reserved


  1. Wow, I WAS in a good mood, however, I am not so sure anymore. Was that depressing? Upsetting? Scary? Not sure - all I know is I am filled with emotion that I don't understand... I will have to write a letter, and then burn it. Maybe that will help me feel better!

  2. I do have to say though, the last paragraph made me smile and laugh enough to make up for any depressing content!

  3. Love a good satire. Hilarious. I'm still laughing.

  4. Even though 8 schools have shut down in Kane County IL, and two of them are in my town, I still think people are over reacting. My daughters have assessed the situation by reaching this scientific fact: everybody in Kane County went to Mexico over spring break... sounds logical to me.
    Thanks for your comic relief!