The Associated Press, among others, reported yesterday that one of the Turkish children who had contracted H5N1 “bird flu” apparently contracted the disease after hugging and kissing the dead and dying chickens in her backyard.
My first reaction – probably your first reaction as well, but I’m brave enough to admit it in public – was to laugh and dismiss this poor child as rather silly, even for an eight-year-old. Then I thought a bit, and realized that while I am indeed no great fan of live, not-yet-acquainted-with-Colonel-Sanders chickens (there are a bunch of them at the stables where our horses live; they steal food from Kahlua, who is not exactly the most assertive equine in the world), I am not really one to criticize, because…
Shocking Revelation: Obscure Blogger is a Bird-Kisser!!!
Yes, you read it here first – not only do I consort with horses and various furry carnivores; I have also owned parrots in the past. My first parrot was Spot, an Orange-winged Amazon. And I must admit that I did, on occasion, give him a little kiss on the beak.
As I was between twenty and thirty years old when I owned Spot, I cannot even defend my actions as having been those of a mere stripling. The only possible mitigation I can offer is that from some of “his” behavior, I gradually concluded that Spot (whose genus is notoriously non-sexually-dimorphic) was actually a female. Does that make it better? Dunno.
It would thus appear that I am an expert (or what passes for an expert in Blogland) on human-bird relationships. It behooves me, then, to offer society my thoughts on how we can prevent the spread of H5N1 to our own exalted species by reducing our exalted tendency to… um… consort with barnyard fowl.
Clearly, we need to initiate a massive advertising campaign, with resonant voiceovers and catchy slogans. The first slogan I came up with was “Don’t Kiss the Dying Chicken.” I think it has a certain je ne sais quoi (only the French can make ignorance sound so sophisticated – but I digress), but somehow it sounds more like some kind of heavy-metal mantra or Satanist chant than like the kind of wholesome motto we’d want to plaster all over our ever-so-wholesome airwaves. I continued thinking… and here it is! (Actually, here are the first and last lines. Geniuses don’t have to write middles.) I present the first great public-service advertisement of the campaign to wipe out the scourge of infected-chicken cuddling:
They Don’t Love You Back!
[I’ll leave the body of the thing for someone else to complete. Michelangelo, after all, let his assistants paint the cherubs. You’re welcome.]
The next time you hug a chicken, you could be the one who winds up in the soup!
My cousin knows James Earl Jones; I think he’d be perfect for the voiceover.
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While I’m on the subject of health, I recall reading yesterday that one of the indications of Ariel Sharon’s increasing responsiveness (as he’s slowly weaned off the anesthetics that maintained his artificial coma) was that his blood pressure rose slightly when one of his sons spoke. That does sound like a sign of approaching normality – my kids do a pretty good job of raising my blood pressure too!
(This post can also be found at the Guns and Butter Blog.)