The rest of you should probably go ahead and panic, but it's too late for me. I already have swine flu. When I got out of bed this morning I had certain aches and pains, not a lot of energy and the vision in my left eye was a little fuzzy. Also, that large bowl of popcorn I consumed before bed was not setting too well. These symptoms are eerily similar to the ones I experience every morning, but given the national news it seems clear that swine flu has arrived in east Wichita.
I just wish they'd come up with another name for it. "Grim Reaper" would be good, even if it seems a slight exaggeration at this point, with U.S. lethality hovering around zero. "Captain Trips" is not bad either, assuming the World Health Organization can wrest the rights from Stephen King. I'd even settle for "common cold." But "swine flu" is just so '70s. And I'm really not comfortable dying from anything related to pigs.
Anyway, while I'm still well enough to type, here are some quick answers to frequently asked pandemic questions:
Q: I need to run to the store to pick up some pork rinds. Should I wear a surgical mask?
A: Pork rinds? Are you sure? The "experts" say you can't get swine flu from eating swine-based products, but why take a crazy chance? And yes on the mask, especially if you supplement it with a big Target bag, as in the picture. If you can afford it, a full set of scuba gear offers the best protection of all.
Q: I need accurate, up-to-date information as this deadly pandemic brings the world to its knees. Where should I turn?
A: I use Twitter, which can instantly echo and amplify all data on the disease, pertinent or not. It's the most trusted source of information on what somebody's brother heard on the radio that one time. If you're not on Twitter, try Glenn Beck, who should be bouncing off the walls right about now.
Q: Is diarrhea a symptom of swine flu?
A: Yes. But it's also a symptom of too many bean burritos, so keep that in mind when Tweeting.
Q: Can I have your stuff when you're dead?
A: No. I'm putting it on eBay as we speak.