Swine flu is the latest and most compelling threat to the sanity and the sinuses of Americans from coast to coast since avian flu. Personally, I'm somewhat concerned, but whether it's because I'm stupid or too busy to be overly worried, I haven't stopped riding the subway, mingling with the masses or even being out and about.
The main thing is how and why do these things continue to evolve from the middle of nowhere -- whether Mexico, New Mexico or Queens -- and how we can somehow move past these regular threats.
The main thing to consider is that, apparently, one of the sources of this particular strain of the flu virus is a farmer who gave his pigs the bug.
This reminds me of the suggested source of HIV, the mother of all virii; apparently, it was the interaction of humans and monkeys that was its source. Then the avian flu -- and who knows where that came from -- and now the swine flu.
None of this smacks of the arrogance of Montezuma's Revenge or the biological abuse we bestowed on the American Indians (prior to the military abuse we subsequently doled out). It's in our history to absorb and interact with our environment. The problem is these post-interaction outbreaks are becoming increasingly serious. HIV is flying below the radar, but sooner or later we'll manage to foment something that will not be as forgiving.
For those who are fans of Alton Brown's excellent Food Network show "Good Eats," the term "food-borne illness" should be familiar. Thing is, and this is where our society may -- eventually -- have a serious problem, while we can avoid areas of danger -- schools, subways, Mexico, et al -- we can't stop eating (sounds like the mantra of the "before" class of Richard Simmons' self-help overeaters anonymous).
That means we have to start considering what to do in the future. That means avoiding, perhaps, peanut butter, birds, still water in urban, dirty areas, swine, Mexico, border crossings, and locations rife with immigrant activity.
That pretty much wraps up 75% of the nation.
Seems to me that if we hope to be able to breathe, consume food and not further destroy our environment a la "Druidia" from Spaceballs, then we should try learning from our mistakes rather than keep on repeating them.
Just my $0.02.