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Flu on You

October 15, 2004

Well, it’s that time of year again. When we mutiliate pumpkins for the sake of some arcane holiday that has of late been homogenized and increasingly lameified. I love how people can freak out about the “obesity epidemic” in our country, bemoan that their kids don’t go out and move around enough, and then, rather than letting them go house to house trick-or-treating, they DRIVE THEM HOUSE-TO-HOUSE.

But I digress.

Aside from the mutiliation of freakishly large produce, this is also the time of year when we, as a nation, come together to freak out about flu vaccinations.

People are lining up outside of grocery stores and other assorted venues hours early – in some cases twenty-four hours early – to secure a flu vaccination. They are camping out overnight, perhaps with the mistaken belief that they are about to see Star Wars – Episode III. Arrests have been made, and one unfortunate woman has even gone so far as to sacrifice her very life, without which a flu shot is pretty much unnecessary.

For my thoughts on the matter, let me refer you to a company I hold in high esteem.


Kudos if you understand. If not, continue to live in blissful ignorance, and know that I am confounded and bewildered at this flu-shot-freakout.

The flu has been around since I was a kid, and probably even longer than that. I know that the virus can be deadly, especially in combination with other illnesses or senescence (old age), but the mortality rate is pretty damn small. I’ve never died from the flu. Have you? I didn’t think so.

Nor do I think getting the vaccination helps. In fact, every year I’ve gotten a flu shot, I’ve gotten, you guessed it, the flu. In the years I haven’t, its been something of a toss up. But I’ve never died from it, and at worst been inconvenienced for a day or two.

Something doesn’t add up here. To save yourself being maybe, possibly inconvenienced for a day or two, you are willing to inconvenience yourself for a day or two? If the flu meant death, I could understand. But we’re not talking about the bubonic plague here, or smallpox, or even being forced to endure those awful Fanta commercials.

As far as I’m concerned, these people are wasting twenty-four hours of their lives. During that lost day, they could be doing any number of things to make themselves healthier and boost their resistance to far more prevalent killers. For example, they could:

– Not smoke
– Not drink
– Not eat fast food, or the donuts you know they were shovelling down while waiting a whole day in a grocery story for a friggin’ flu shot
– Walk around. Or ride a bike.
– Stretch
– Play with a puppy. Puppies help you live longer.
– Or a baby. They have that effect too. Unless they won’t stop crying.

The flu shot is some mass media brainwash, in my opinion, just like the 3,000 mile oil change. Modern engines are far more efficient, and don’t need their motor oil changed more than once every five to seven thousand miles. But the oil companies, since they like money, aren’t about to tell you that. Nor are automakers, who generate quite a bit of revenue themselves through oil changes in their service department.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2004 11:03 am

    I’m with you on the Flu Shots. When I was just out of school I got the flu shot 2 years in a row and 2 years in a row I had a bad case of the flu within a week! I smell something fishy there. It goes along with my theory, Doctors, Psychiatrists and Mechanics don’t wnat to really fix things all the way, or their careers would be over.
    The Truth is out there

  2. October 20, 2004 10:17 pm

    August 2, 216 BC
    Early in the morning on a day when he knew Varro would be in command, Hannibal drew up for battle near the Roman camp, with one flank on the stream, thus secured from envelopment by the more numerous Romans. He left about 8,000 troops to hold his camp. His center was composed of Spanish and Gallic infantry spread out in a thin line. The wings each consisted of a deep phalanx of heavy, reliable African foot. On the left of his line were his 8,000 heavy Spanish and Gallic cavalrymen under Hasdrubal; on the right he posted his 2000 Numidian light cavalry.
    Varro accepted the challenge with most of his army; he sent 11,000 men to attack the Carthaginian camp. Perceiving that he could not envelop the well-protected flanks of the Carthaginan army, Varro decided to crush his opponent by weight of numbers. He doubled the depth of each maniple, the intervals also being greatly reduced so that his infantry front, comprising about 65,000 men, corresponded with that of Hannibal’s 32, 000. Varro placed 2,400 Roman cavalry on his right flank; on his left were 4,800 allied horsemen.
    Under the cover of the preliminary skirmishing of light troops, Hannibal personally advanced the thin central portion of his line until it formed a salient toward the Romans; his heavy infantry wings stood fast.
    The battle was opened on the left by the charge of heavy Spanish and Gallic horse, who crushed the Roman cavalry, then swung completely around the rear of the Roman army to smash the rear of the allied cavalry, engaged in indecisive combat with the Numidians. The allied horsemen were driven off the field, perused by the Numidians. The heavy Carthaginian cavalry now turned to strike the rear of the Roman infantry.
    The infantry combat, meanwhile had gone according to Hannibal’s plan. His central salient slowly withdrew under fierce Roman pressure. Varro sent the maniples of his second line into the intervals of his hastati; then ordered his triarii and even the velites to add their weight, in order to drive the Carthaginians into the river. Hannibal’s line had now become concave, but was still intact. The Romans in dense phalangial mass, pressed ahead.
    Suddenly Hannibal gave the signal to the commanders of his African wings, thus far hardly engaged. They advanced, wheeling inward against the Romans, who were already raising shouts of victory. At this time the Carthaginian cavalry struck the rear of the Roman line. Cries of victory turned to screams of consternation. The Romans became a herd of panic-stricken individuals, all cohesion and unity lost. There was only slight resistance from this hemmed-in mob during the following hour of grim butchery, though one contingent of about 10,000 fought free. At the close of the day about 60,000 Romans-including Paulus- lay dead on the field; with another 2000 lost when they were repulsed from Hannibal’s well-guarded camp. Ingloriously, Varro was among the handful of fugitives. Hannibal’s losses were at least 6,000 men.

  3. Matt permalink
    October 20, 2004 10:31 pm

    My thanks, Servius, for the account of Cannae, even if I must disagree with it on many of the finer points. I’m actually writing a novel on the Second Punic War, and as my other entries note, I’m currently embroiled with this very battle.

    I fail to see, however, what is has to do with flu shots.

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