29 November 2009

Man Flu, Potatoes and Me.

I have the Flu. Not the Swine Flu, not the Bird Flu, just the ordinary common or garden Man Flu.

Catching it was somewhat inevitable seeing as how The Very Understanding Girlfriend was herself similarly inflicted some days ago, and all the handwashing in the world was thus highly unlikely to protect me from its mucousy tendrils of infection. Despite the crushing predictability of succumbing to this illness I still greeted the appearance of its first symptoms with a sense of personal disappointment and a growing rage at the injustice of it all.

I am not a bad patient, just an impatient patient. I am no good at lying around in bed or on the couch waiting to get better, I lost the ability to vegetate in front of the television many years ago and now just find the whole day-time viewing experience akin to mummification from the en-mummied's perspective wherein my brain is slowly removed through my nose with a long none-too-sterilized implement that is the unloved offspring of a knitting needle and the bit on a Swiss Army knife theoretically used to remove stones from a horse's hoof.

Thus I have been pacing feverishly back and forth through the house, a phlegmy bundle of nervous energy unable to settle into anything and, frustrated at this sorry state of affairs, looking for someone or something to blame. After much list making and the consultation of almost two peer-reviewed journals, and despite the fact that I have nothing more sinister than Man Flu, I have decided to blame meat-eaters.

That's right burger-lovers, my misery is all your fault.

Despite being a member of a nation who until relatively recent historical times considered a live pig to be the pinnacle of domestic central heating technology, the way in which animals are housed in modern farming environments has always appalled me. One does not need to have read Michael Pollan's 'Omnivore's Dilemma' to know that battery farms are probably not the most hygienic of places and the sheer scale of antibiotics pumped into most confined animals simply to keep them alive long enough to be fattened up and slaughtered for our gastronomical delectation is staggering. And yet in spite of these industrial-scale pharmacological solutions infections do arise and cross over into the human biosystem with alarming regularity.

On the other hand one does not seem to hear of Potato Flu. No ominous Fox News segments have ever been given over to the liberal-like spread of Turnip Flu from South, West, East or even North of the border (damn those turnip-loving freedom-hating Canucks and their root vegetables of doom) and the death and depravity it brings. No matter how many beetroots one stores in dark and airless sheds, never able to feel the wind in their roots or see the blue skies above, stalks mercilessly trimmed to allow even more to be piled into the same confined spaces, no matter how inhumane the conditions they are kept in it is virtually impossible to catch the flu from them.

And yet by dint of our common humanity, anything that crosses over into my meat-farming counterparts is also easily transmittable to me. As a vegetarian I have not tasted pork in over nine years, yet thanks to thoughtless and uncaring meatetarians I am at risk of Swine Flu. I have not consumed chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pigeon, partridge, squab, grouse, pheasant, ostrich or swan in a decade, yet am just as subject to the ravages of Bird Flu as if I was an officer and a gentleman in the continental army of Colonel Saunders himself. On a daily basis my life and health is put at risk to suit the carnivorous blood-lust of my atavistic friends and family, whose self-centered dietary choices threaten my very existence through the hidden consequences of what I shall call second-hand meat.

And while my own malaise might be of the strictly Homo Sapiens variety, so enraged by the unthinking selfishness of my steak-savouring species was I that for a time yesterday I contemplated a daring break-in at the Dublin petting zoo, wherein I would violently sneeze upon the pot-bellied pig and cockatoo and thus transfer my Man Flu to them in a viral Circle of Life. While the resulting Man-Pig-Bird Flu would travel the globe and wipe out almost all of humanity, the survivors would understand the true cost of second-hand meat and a glorious Vegetarian Age would rise from the smoky and slightly succulent ashes.

While my apocalyptic vision is truly worthy of a vegan Emmerich, it is unlikely to come to pass as in my weak and enfeebled state I have been unable to summon the energy to leave the house, let alone make it to the Phoenix Park. Bedsides, it is really windy and rainy outside, no doubt all the pot-bellied pigs and the cockatoos are bundled up safe and warm inside, watching daytime TV.

I mean, who else could they be making Dr Phil for?

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At 5:53 pm, Blogger lusciousblopster said...

blame the meatarians eh. zoogenic diseases, is that what they're called? but unfortunately salmonella can at least live on fruit and on the apparently non-existent vegetables:


or take a look at:

and the mysterious vegetables:

you deserve kudos for summoning enough energy in the grip of the man-flu (much worse, obviously, than the woman-flu) to even write this post. if you have buried a virus within it, well done. don't look at the screen!

At 1:56 pm, Blogger 2BiT said...

Still, no Bovine Spongiform Encephalitus eh? be thankful for small mercies...

(or did you tuck into a nice marshmallow stew over thanksgiving? uh-oh!)


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