Strain on the nerves

Shorten your stay, unwelcome guest.

By Charles P. Pierce
October 4, 2009

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • E-mail|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

Dear H1N1: As a mark of respect, I call you by your actual name, and not by your nom de tabloid, “Swine Flu.” I am very interested in keeping and maintaining a mutual level of respect here because, quite honestly, I’d rather not have you stopping by during this cold and flu season, which once I thought was merely a marketing scheme cooked up by the folks who manufactured Vicks VapoRub -- something like “MetroWest,” the concept that real estate hustlers dropped all over that part of Route 9 that we in the heart of the Commonwealth used to call, simply, “Over There by Shoppers World.” Mind you, I am not speaking here just as someone renowned all over the planet as The World’s Worst Patient. There are rabbits in labs that face their medical procedures with more courage than I do a flu shot. But I also speak for my country. You may have noticed in your travels around this nation that we aren’t exactly sane in the way we take care of ourselves. You may have noticed that fact when you came riding the spittle out of the mouths of elderly people screaming that the government should stay out of their Medicare. You also may have observed that we face epidemic disease fully in the spirit of our new national motto: “America: We Can’t Do Squat.” (I’m still working on the Latin for “squat.”) Be gentle. And if you need someone to infect, there are people I can suggest instead of me.

Charles P. Pierce /

  • October 4, 2009 cover
  • October 4 Globe Magazine cover
Read more stories from this issue.