The Miss Piggy syndrome

Ed Smith
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If you have H1N1, I'm sorry. But you must be all right or you wouldn't be reading this.
If you haven't caught it yet but are about to, I'm even sorrier; we're in the same boat. I am mightily pleased that your boat is where you are and mine is where I am - hopefully several days and more kilometres distant from each other.
By the time you read this, most of us should have been pierced by that sharp little needle, those of us who want to be. Not everyone does. OH and I have what they call a compromised immune system and are told we don't have a choice. I think we caught it from each other during our honeymoon and it never wore off.
I have been looking at this swine flu epi-pan-demic for bright spots. You know, I found some. These are given in no order of importance.

A. If you don't want to,
you don't have to go to church.
I know, you can come up with all kinds of reasons you don't have to go to church.
One, you don't believe in that stuff. You're atheist, agnostic and unbeliever all rolled into one. God would drop dead if you walked into church. The congregation would shrivel up into little dark spots on the seats. The choir would drop their clothes and start singing stark naked. The minister would run out of the church screaming, "A miracle! A miracle! A real, honest-to-God miracle!"
Two, you're sick. You had cramps last Thursday.
Three, it's raining. At least it looks like it might rain - sometime.
Four, the kids are sick. One coughed just a couple of days ago.
Five, you don't have money for collection.

B. You might have to go into quarantine.
The great thing about going into quarantine is that you don't have to meet people you don't like. You don't even have to talk to them if you don't want to. Shout at them through the door or through the window - with the window shut, of course.
You just let the phone ring and ring and ring. No more embarrassing conversations with third-party bill collectors. No more trapped into talking with people who want to sell you tickets on a Jigg's dinner or a cord of firewood. If it's an emergency, they can leave a message on your voicemail.
No one needs people these days. You can do all your studying online; likewise, all your banking. You can order your groceries by phone and have them delivered to your car in the driveway.
If you want to have an affair, you can do that, too, by Internet. Just pick out him or her and talk nicely or dirtily, depending on your preference. Next thing you know, you're making arrangements to meet in some motel when the swine flu is all over, roughly about three years from now. That's about the same time the world is due to be swallowed up by that black hole business, according to the Aztecs, so you won't have to go through with the affair if you don't want to, or your wife doesn't want you to, or some foolishness like that.
If you want to have an affair with yourself, there are approximately seven million sites on the computer to help you achieve that.

C. H1N1 is a great way to get your kids to go to school.
Do you have to haul your kids out of bed by the scruff of the neck or the ankles or anywhere else you can get a grip in order to get them off to school? It's a common problem. Goes back to the days of the caveman when they had to drag them to school by the hair of their heads.
OH just read this part. Says that's not the reason cavemen were dragging cavewomen around by the hair. So I'm asking her why and she says, "Same reason you used to come pick me up by car." It is? "Yes," she says, "except they didn't waste all that gas or all that time."
Perhaps they got their kids to school by heaving rocks at them. Whatever, kids will make more excuses for not going to school than you will for not going to church.
But try telling them they have to stay home because of the swine flu! You'll have to tie them to the front door or the gate post to keep them there.
This is going on and that is happening and this team has a game and that group has a practice and everyone is going to think she or he's a wuss (whatever that is).
If we could invent some kind of harmless, infectious little parasite to run around the school every fall - like lice or scabies - so that parents would be advised to keep their children home for a prolonged period, we'd have twice the graduation rate, and postgraduate classes of every kind in the nation would be three times as full.

D. No need to listen to the news anymore.
If you listened to Open Line during the municipal elections, you witnessed this phenomenon: every man jack and woman jill who was running for council anywhere wanted to get on the air and strut their stuff. There was no room for anything else.
That's the way it is with the media now. They are so consumed by swine flu, terrorists could bomb the hell out of Fogo Island and we wouldn't know a thing about it - unless someone on Change Islands happened to be looking that way at the time.
The only way to get news in Springdale these days is through the local information centres: Tim Hortons (sorry, Rev. George), your hairdresser (sorry, Emma) and the church women's group (sorry, Donna).
As for the H1N1, my father's favourite Bible verse about covers it.
"This, too, shall pass."

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is

Organizations: Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Springdale, Fogo Island, Change Islands

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