The avian flu…I keep hearing about it. This morning I came across an article about an Indonesian family that lost at least six members to avian flu.
Will the avian flu alarm die away, as with killer bees and Y2K? Or will the situation be as bad as some experts warn? I remember the first time I read an article about AIDS and my thought, “Zoikes, this sounds like it could really be a bad thing.”
Living in New York City heightens the natural fear of contagion. We’re packed tightly together, and we’re very dependent on other people like bus-drivers and subway operators. Also, apartments are small, so a family doesn’t have natural stockpiles of supplies the way a family with a big basement who shops at Wal-Mart does. I haven’t even stashed away the recommended twelve gallons of emergency water (one gallon per person for three days).
Reading about the avian flu is a warning about the fragility of security and happiness. How trivial my happiness exercises would seem in the face of real catastrophe—a new Black Death or Influenza Epidemic of 1918. But then of course a bad diagnosis, a car crash, a moment’s distraction that somehow led to disaster, would do the same. The lesson? Be happy now.