Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Saturday, October 3, 2009
ISSUE #571
#571 Oct. 3, 2009

H1N1, by any other name, can make you squeal

COLUMBUS: It’s a shame some folks are getting H1N1 flu virus, especially students. For most of them, it’s no worse than other ailments that occasionally torment college students.

While I was in Norfolk last week I read the Saturday edition of the Virginian-Pilot. I’m sure it’s an honorable newspaper, and that they practice “honest and intelligent journalism” because that’s what it says right under their masthead. So I was surprised to read a story in there about swine flu. Calling H1N1 by another name that defames an innocent farm animal is about as “honest and intelligent” as saying the Washington Redskins are a great football team.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, the Medical College at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has started a plan to call anything associated with H1N1 by a swine term. They say it’s in fun, but I rather doubt the Agricultural College at Johns Hopkins would be too thrilled about these learned medical professionals poking fun at their business. Of course, Johns Hopkins has not seen fit to teach agriculture, so there’s no one to complain, for instance, that a student with swine flu be called a pig. Or a sick freshman, a piglet. I’m guessing an older female student with flu is a sow. A sick student’s room is called a pig pen, or if it gets messy while the student is laid up with flu, a pig sty. An isolated area at the dining hall where flu-laden students are allowed to eat together is called the trough.

Well, as long the dining hall keeps serving all the students ham and pork chops for supper and bacon and sausage for breakfast, I guess they can go hog wild with their swine terms without any real harm. And if the students remember to wash their hands frequently (with hog tide) maybe it’ll keep a few more of them from having to pay a visit to one of these Medical College interns. That could be dangerous because those funny docs might jab a needle in sideways just to hear you squeal.

Here’s another idea for ‘em: change the name of the university to Johns Hog-kins.

Now I don’t mean to pick on a fine newspaper or university, because there’s plenty of others just like them. You may remember my feeble attempt to change H1N1 to Hiney. I think our students would quickly adopt the nickname Hiney flu, if the newspapers and MTV would get behind it. They are great to take on new terms, like BTW and LOL, and I think calling it Hiney flu would have a certain appeal to them.

Even David Letterman might joke about Hiney flu. That’s about as close as he’ll want to get to a joke of a sexual nature. Now, I’m not going to pile on a fellow humorist except to point out that this may explain why Katy Couric hasn’t been on his show for a while. And I did hear a rumor that CBS is insisting he change the name of his business to Worldwide Pants Down.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The New York Times advertises ‘All the news that’s fit to print’. I believe the news that’s NOT fit to print is what makes the newspapers.” WA #138, Aug. 2, 1925

“Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. The old paper in the morning is my breakfast. Course I don’t entirely depend on it. I like it accompanied by some ham and eggs, and a few biscuits, a series of cups of coffee, and a few wheat cakes to help get your mind off the editorials.” WA #257, Nov. 27, 1927


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