Monday, January 07, 2013

It's That Season Again. Might As Well Find the Humour

Vancouver and other parts of B.C. are falling victim to widespread norovirus.   Plenty of Vancouverites are "down" with the highly infectious bug and they're not alone.  There's plenty of it in the U.K. at the moment which led The Guardian's Charlie Brooker to offer up this not so whimsical take on norovirus:

Everyone hates the norovirus, with the exception of two distinct groups. First: scientists. Professor Ian Goodfellow, who has spent the past decade studying it, has lovingly dubbed the norovirus "the Ferrari of the virus world", not because it makes the contents of your stomach accelerate from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, but because it's so ruthlessly efficient. Requiring a mere 20 particles to seize command of its victims, the norovirus is 200 times more infectious than Daydream Believer by The Monkees. Consequently many scientists claim to be "impressed" by the thing – a bit like admiring Nazi architecture, if you ask me.

It must be brilliant being a scientist during an outbreak like this because if you get infected yourself, you can at least take the edge off your suffering by admiring the sheer force of your symptoms. The fascinating pitter-patter of stomach contents against the back of your teeth as a fearsome torrent of spew erupts from within like a liquid poltergeist fleeing an exorcism. The impressive way your backside emits high-pressure jets of hot fluid, like the Hulk squeezing silty boiled water from a Fairy Liquid bottle by clenching it abruptly in his fist. The searing aftermath, as your throat rages as though sandpapered and your anus screams like a scalded button. This is nature in all its raw majesty. Film it in HD, get David Attenborough to record the soundtrack, and you've got a Sunday evening treat for millions.

The other group of norolovers are newspaper editors, who get to fill their front pages on the quiet post-Christmas news days with headlines like PALACE "FULL OF VOMIT" and BILLIONS DEFECATE. If, like me, you're an emetophobe – someone with an irrational fear of vomiting – such headlines are on a par with MADMAN ON LOOSE AND STANDING BEHIND YOU. 

Brooker's tip on dodging norovirus?   Don't touch anything at least not with your bare hands.   Learn to open doors with your elbows.  Find creative ways to operate a bathroom with your hands clad in tissue.   But soon you're bound to come around a corner headlong into a sneeze anyway.

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