And you thought “When Animals Attack” was scary. With the news flooded with stories of the latest terrifying threat to our health, I can’t help but wonder, is there any animal when can really trust?

And you thought “When Animals Attack” was scary. With the news flooded with stories of the latest terrifying threat to our health, I can’t help but wonder, is there any animal when can really trust? Cats can cause cat scratch fever, birds now bring to mind the avian flu, and even man’s best friend can carry rabies.
Not that humans are exactly a walk in the park. Chances are if we catch the Swine Flu it won’t be from hanging around Miss Piggy. No, we as humans are perfectly capable plague carriers. That nasty bubonic one may have started on the backs of rats, but you probably caught it from your friends and family, not Minnie or Mickey. In the end, there’s really nothing scarier than your neighbor’s germs.
Situations like this are exactly why I put off reading Stephen King’s “The Stand” for so long. I was told by every person who had read it, whether they were fans of his work or not, that it was fantastic. Everyone seemed shocked that I’d read nearly everything else by him save for the piece considered to be his best work. But I knew that it would freak me out far worse than “Cujo” or “Salem’s Lot”. The chances of me being trapped in the car by a rabid dog or stalked in the night by a vampire sounds far less likely and, frankly, less terrifying than the chance of 90 something percent of the world being wiped out by a super strong flu bug.
Eventually I did cave and read it, despite my better judgment. A line by T.S. Eliot is quoted in the unabridged version and it has, quite unfortunately, remained firmly lodged in my sub-conscious: “This is the way the world ends - not with a bang but with a whimper”.  Which is probably why whenever I hear about any new strain of flu virus, I immediately feel a little panic set in. Every sniffle, every sneeze suddenly becomes a sign the end is near.
I try to stay level headed. When the President said it was a cause for concern but not alarm, I tried to listen. But then I turned over to some news station that was mapping out a worse case scenario in graphic detail and my desire to stockpile antibiotics came back  with a vengeance.
Ironically, each news station covering this mess takes the same approach: tell you all the horrible things that might be in store, and then end by saying “But we don’t want anyone to panic!” Really? Because nothing calms the nerves like a map with huge red swatches covering the country where the pandemic MIGHT break. Nothing soothes my fears like being told that no one has a clue what might happen in the following days, weeks, months. One “expert” said something that basically amounted to it may be nothing or it may start making people drop like flies at any moment.
Thanks for that; I feel all better now.
This could be like SARS or the Bird Flu where the effect America felt was minimum. Or this could be, to quote another one of those bastions of comfort, “the big one”. We won’t know it’s full impact for a while yet. In the mean time, all we can really do is sit tight and try not to panic. Or we can all go out and buy those little hospital masks and spray disinfectant on every person who we see with watery eyes or a runny nose. As it’s allergy season it might be wise to keep a stock pile of Lysol next to the cartons of Tamiflu you managed to procure “just in case”.
Personally, I think I’m just going to stay as calm as possible. However, if I wait on you and you seem to have even the slightest case of the sniffles, don’t be surprised if I run to the bathroom to wash my hand before you even make it out the door.