Monday, 20 July 2009

Swine Flu Unmasked :: It’s War

This weekend Home Secretary Alan Johnson admitted that Swine Flu is now a more substantial threat to this country than terrorism. Ministers are discussing the emergency implementation of 24-hour crematoria and inflatable mortuaries. They’re even talking about stopping people going to see football matches. It’s official – the UK is now a matter of minutes away from a Swine Flu Panic Pandemic. Currently, 19 of every 1000 newspaper and internet articles are in some way flu-panic-related. When this figure reaches 20 – any second now – we will officially have a Pandemic Panic Epidemic on our hands. Phase 11. And are we prepared? Well, despite what Alan Johnson says, no we are not. But is this heightened state of panic really justified? Or do we have another Bird Flu on our hands? All screeching pundits and no mass graves.

Well, let’s look at the facts. OK. Face-masks on…

* What are the symptoms of Swine Flu?

The primary symptoms are as follows:

- sudden fever
- sudden cough
- sudden sneeze
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- fatigue
- nausea
- dismay
- vomiting
- diarrhoea
- bad credit
- watery eyes
- loss of appetite
- sense of moral unease and general foreboding
- prickling sensation in the coccyx (heralding appearance of short curly tail)

If you have, or develop, or suspect you might be about to develop any or all of the above, you probably already have Swine Flu.

* What can I do to avoid catching Swine Flu?

If it’s not already too late, nothing. But if futile gestures are your thing, stay home, wash your hands every fifteen minutes and rinse all fruit and vegetables thoroughly (soak for more impressive gesture).

* How is Swine Flu contracted?

Swine Flu is highly contagious and is spread through coughs, sneezes and any kind of physical contact with any infected surface. Infected surfaces may include door handles, toilet seats, computer keyboards and the very surface of the air.

* Can I catch it from kissing?


* Are there any age groups particularly at risk?

Yes, high-risk groups are the under-5s, the over-65s and anyone in the 6-64 age bracket. Of those, 25-45-year-olds are actually most at risk. This last fact is especially worrying as it is reminiscent of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 which also favoured that demographic, and went on to kill up to a hundred million people. Did you hear that? A HUNDRED MILLION.

* I heard the other day that it’s dangerous to conceive at the moment. But then the government said that was just scaremongering. I’m confused. And scared. May I conceive? I am ovulating.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that conceiving at this point would be tantamount to infanticide. Pregnant women are easy prey to Swine Flu as they are too busy nurturing their unborn progeny to adequately defend against the virus. Do not get pregnant. Whatever you do.

* I’m pregnant! Should I be panicking?

Yes!!! Pregnancy is hard enough at the best of times. Pregnancy in the middle of a panic pandemic is positively pandemonium. If you are pregnant, under no circumstances use public transport. If at all possible, don’t leave the house at all. Any babies you must have, have them at home. And home-school them.

* If I go on holiday, what is the risk I will catch it on the flight?

The risk is panic-teasingly high. Thankfully, many airlines have already initiated moves to monitor passengers and if they exhibit symptoms, to turn them away with cattle prods and Tasers.

If a Flu Carrier does manage to make it aboard the same plane as you, that’s pretty much it. The viral equivalent of September 11th. Swine Eleven. You’ll be coughing up blood before the sandwiches arrive. Switch your phone back on and say your last goodbyes.

* But I’m going to Xinjiang on Wednesday. It’s all booked and everything.

Cancel it. Swine Flu is global. If you contract it abroad, you may very well be quarantined and later transported to a Swine Flu colony or ‘trough’, and gassed.

* What can I do if I suspect my neighbour has Swine Flu?

If you suspect it, report it. If you think you have seen a person acting suspiciously or displaying any of the symptoms of Swine Flu, immediately move away and call 999. The government Rat on a Swine Action Hotline should be up and running any month now. In the meantime, be firm. Ostracise anyone you suspect and paint a large red cross on their front door in the night.

* I have bad hay fever and my neighbour suspects I have Swine Flu. I woke up in the night to find him painting a red cross on my front door. What should I do?

Take the consequences. Every war has casualties. If we let you under the radar, where do we draw the line? Before we know it, we’ll be letting in bronchitis, tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, AIDS.

* I have Swine Flu. What hope is there for me?

No hope. Put your affairs in order, make your peace with those you will leave behind, paint a large red cross on your front door and wait for the end. You should not leave the house under any circumstances, but if for some reason you choose to, wear a white pillowcase with a red cross on it and ring a bell at all times. Be aware, you will be shot dead.

* Have any famous people died from Swine Flu yet?

So far, just one.

But it’s early days.

* Is there anywhere I can go for unbiased expert help on the subject?

No, there is not. You’re probably talking about a kind of national flu hotline, something like the one the government swore blind, in November 2007, would be ‘ready for instant implementation’ as soon as the WHO declared Pandemic Alert Phase 5, which happened in April this year. Since then, despite repeated promises and a steadily rising body count, FluLine has yet to materialise. And the rest is just a vast spluttering cacoughony of cynical, manipulative hogwash.

* Wait, wait. Is there a vaccine?


Really, the absolute best you can do is die in style with one of these humorous Japanese animal masks.


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confused said...

i sprayed tea over my computer reading that! :-)

Anonymous said...

Robert Preston's just come on the radio news, yabbering away about something that probably wasn't flu related.

But I'll never know for sure, as I had to switch it off. As I always do whenever he comes on the radio or tv.

If he hasn't got the most goddawful, irritating bloody voice on the planet, then I'd hate to have to listen to the person who has.

Who is it, by the way? It's certainly not you. And it's not me (though our voices are just a little bit rubbish).

I reckon it must be him. It is. It's him, isn't it?


La Bête said...

You must be more careful, Confused. Computers don't grow on trees, you know. (Do not make a joke about Apple trees. Thank you.)

Wellington, your voice may be rubbish. Mine is a delight. So you are wrong. You were right about the comments though. They have died! People come but no one leaves a comment anymore. Makes me feel quite woebegone.

Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO PMSL very funny :D

Anonymous said...

thank you for depigging my swine of a day!

Woman from a village said...

Thank you for the most sensible advice I've heard so far regarding swine flu. Have bought my red paint (for other people's doors).

lilianavonk said...

Don't be woebegone, m'dear. Perhaps it's just that we are so dazzled by your seemingly effortless brilliance that we know no words of ours could even begin to compete with your sparkling, effervescent prose, n'est-ce pas?

Catofstripes said...

Not a lot to say, you've made all the jokes already. I'll give you my tin hat conspiracy theory.

It's this, they keep saying that this virus is acting just like the Spanish flu that killed millions in 1918. Just recently, various organisations have been digging up 1918 flu victims to extract the virus for research purposes. I don't want to start a panic but what if?

gongman said...

"Makes me feel quite woebegone".

A wonderful adjective,if I may make so bold.

I suppose it will soon be replaced in text speak (or txt speak) by wbg.

Or maybe not.Hopefully.

And don´t feel wbg....btw.

Yankee said...

There was a reported case of swine flu on a particular street in Soho (specifics unknown), which happens to be the street on which my employer is located.

My employer responded to the potential threat by posting handwashing guidelines in all the toilets.

Apparently, handwashing is a 13-step practice, step 1 of which is "wet your hands". I howled with laughter when I read it.

But your blog is even funnier...

Antipo Déesse said...

If I spray tea over my computer too, will that protect me from swine flu?

Anonymous said...

This entire thing has got ridiculous - I LOVED this post! Finally something (hilarious) and sensible to read about the flu of the swine.
Apparently the authorities are threatening school closures in the Autumn. Lovely! Instead of containing the little buggers, (my own 2 included) let's let them wander the streets causing mayhem. Far more sensible!

Judge Death said...

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I bought the book at the weekend and thought it was excellent. Genuinely very funny and moving. Really looked forward to getting home tonight to polish it off on the sofa. Ahem.

Got it in the 3 for 2 at Waterstones, but don't worry - yours was the first I picked. Orwell and Ben Goldacre were merely filler.

Anyway, keep it up!

Beleaguered Squirrel said...


's funny though, we are told not to panic, but as far as I can see everyone is being exceptionally blase about it. I know tons of people who've had it now, and a fair few have paid it no heed at all, carried on going to work etc, and my sister sent my nephew to school with it.

Duncan said...

Piss funny as always. Love your blog fella, keep doing what you do!

La Bête said...

Thank you all for your kind words. At least, I'm assuming 'piss funny' is kind and not an instruction, or worse still an observation.

Aiko said...

You're fab. xx

La Bête said...

No, you're fab. And I'll be sending you your book this week. So there.

laurasusan said...

Symptoms? It appears I have had Swine Flu for the past three years - who knew?

Emerging Writer said...

Are you sure, I mean 100% sure it can't be transmitted via broadband? I mean, the clue's in the name, right? 'broad'?

Vair vair funny

Rachel Fox said...

As a person who's been panicking about everything for years (the stupidest, the tiniest things) I find it strangely comforting to watch others panic.

Enjoyed your post.

Chris Jones said...

Great advice!

I'll be sure not to go around kissing pigs!

Aiko said...

Bless your socks (not sure if cotton, don't like to assume!) Can't wait to get it :o) Cos of my kidney disease I've gotta stay in and aviod people so look forward to having a good reason to behave!

Anonymous said...

Cor! That Jane Bürgermeister is on the right track methinks.



Anonymous said...

I'm one of the damned. I recently burnt all of my possessions publicly... It started out as an artistic display, but after limited response from the public, I recovered, declaring it in the interest of public safety. I launched a brief campaign raising awareness for Swine Flu and encouraging others to burn their possessions, too. None too popular.
Since being shunned once more in my search for illness-related celebrity (it worked for others, remember) I have now resorted to wandering the streets, coughing in busy areas and outside schools.
Goodbye fickle world.


Christine said...

Well, I've already got 'dismay' though I do feel better after laughing at your advice.**

Mauri said...

as much as i love mj, couldn't help but giggle to the reference you made to him (feel really bad now)yes i have started sniffing, but i thought if i have got it, i'm gonna bring everyone down with me, sneezing on anyone who comes into contact with me! (only jokin ;)

read your "30 year old virgin" was absolutely delightful, i find good looks, according to what society wants it to be, is overrated, believe me, most of the time they end up having the personality of a wet noodle, but hey they can't have it all!

you are brilliant & such a special person, writing is definately your calling, your personality is practically bouncing out the text!

thanks for a great laugh, i think there's a little bit of rocky dennis in all of us, well the ones who have ever felt misplaced anyway, love that movie! keep doing what your doing because it is very much appreciated!

Kind Regards, Mauri.