All right. Here is the scoop. The skinny. The scuttlebutt. Someone very close to me may or may not have the Swine Flu. Not that I would tell you if they did. And I certainly wouldn't post it on the internet. That would be way too embarrassing.
Why, you ask? What is the big deal, you ask? Because it is called the SWINE flu. Which basically means that you are a dirty pig. Might as well call it the Germ-infested Mud-hole flu, since it feels about the same. Why couldn't it be called something tragically romantic, like Scarlet Fever? I've always wanted to get Scarlet Fever. Doesn't it sound lovely? Dying from Scarlet Fever is right up there with dying from a broken heart on the romance scales.
The Swine Flu Council really screwed themselves over when they decided to name this strain of Influenza after pigs. I don't care if it did start out as a pig virus. Nobody wants to have an infectious disease named after a barnyard animal. No one really minded coming down with the Bird Flu, but Mad-Cow disease? No way. Sure, they often use the designation "H1N1", which is like sugar coating bat guano, because if you tell someone you have "H1N1", their first thought is always "Oh, right! That's that dirty pig disease! Stay away from me!"
Over the years the Disease Naming Committee in Washington, D.C. have made lots of similar disease naming mistakes. Don't they know what they are doing? Can't they see that it is all in the name? The real problem with Swine Flu is not its symptoms, but its name, and it is not the first disease to be maligned this way--Cat Scratch Fever? Who'd want to catch that?--while on the other hand, people are falling all over themselves to catch diseases like Anthrax, just because they sound so cool. Then there is Gas Gangrene, which is just adding insult to injury, but African Sleeping Sickness really sounds exotic! Canefield Fever? I don't know what that is, but it sounds nice. Dum Dum Disease? Well really! Who wants to tell their friends that diagnosis! And we still have to look out for Jock Itch, Lemming Fever, and Oral Hairy Leukoplakia.
So what's the take home lesson? CDC, if you want people to want to succumb to these diseases, you are going to have to step things up a bit. Use exciting words like "Jazz", "Spaceship", "Magic" or "Cash". Look at Rock and Roll Lyrics if you are out of ideas. Who doesn't want to come down with a raging case of The Boogie Woogie Blues, or Jungle Fever? Come on! Have fun with it!
To recap; Barn yard animals: Bad, glamorous vacation destinations: Good. Use words that compliment the infirm, like Smallpox, instead of derogatory words, as in Largepox or Dumb-n-Uglypox. Avoid words that make people giggle; while Swimmer's Ear is ok, Swimmer's Itch is definitely not. And when in doubt, use a different word altogether; Traveler's Diarrhea is questionable, but Traveler's Flux gets two thumbs up from me!
So Come On! Let's all work hand in hand to raise awareness of the danger of diseases with humiliating names. Together, we can come up with illnesses that people will be proud to get, and prouder to share with their friends and family!