Friday, November 13, 2009

On the increaing potential of contracting H1N1 in comparison to increasing chances of hitting the Powerball


OK, listen...

Unless you're in one of the high-contact groups like health care workers, the odds of getting H1N1 are just not that high. And if you DO get it, again, unless you're in a high-risk group like the very young, the very old, or the very frail, the odds of it turning into anything other a really bad case of the flu are equally small.

There's been under 5 thousand deaths from the H1N1 in America. FIVE. THOUSAND. It's five thousand too many, but compared to, say, the REGULAR Flu, it's a crepitation in a cyclone. I can't even do the math on how small a percentage of the US population that is because my calculator doesn't have that many decimal places.

So why are we all terrified to the point that we're expecting Randall Flagg to show up any minute?

Because it's been driven into us every day by the news, to the point that we're convinced that a dose of the Swine Flu comes with every purchase greater than ten dollars at the mall. The news chronicles almost Every Single CASE of the thing that gets contracted. It couldn't possibly be doing that if there were an appreciably large number of them. So naturally, if all one hears is that Yet Another Person has got it, it sounds like far greater a pattern (and problem) than it is.

Nothing is an issue, problem or occurrance anymore – it all jumps straight to CRISIS. People become convinced that every single threat seen on television will affect them...usually because the tease before the commercial usually sounds like "The new threat, and how it could affect you". The goal is not to inform, the goal is to keep you watching, preferably through the commercials.

Plus, people fall back on the old chestnut "Well, it doesn't hurt to play it safe". Well yes, it can hurt if the amount of preparatives outweighs the good they serve. It's the same reason we need four forms of ID to withdraw our own money from the bank (since apparently every fifth person born is an identity thief), we can't bring a half-pint bottle of water onto a plane, or take photos of our own kids at a local park.

Think about it, how many times did you turn into a candy bar, regardless of the number of times your mother warned you what would happen if you kept eating them?

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