Tips For Surviving The Plague
Apparently the bubonic plague has broken out about six blocks from my house here in Boulder, Colorado. The plague was found in a cat and a dead squirrel a few days ago and, if history has taught us anything, I suppose there’s reason to believe it’s going to spread. In case you don’t concern yourself with “history,” we’re talking about the same disease that killed one-third of Europe’s population during the 14th century, and a whole bunch of others since. Here’s a quick refresher.
In the mid-1300s, the plague was carried from China to Europe via the Silk Road, and from there the outbreak known as "the Black Death" pruned the world's population by about 75 million. During the Sino-Japanese war, the Japs used the bubonic plague as a form of biological warfare against China. The clever little assholes dropped ceramic bombs filled with fleas carrying the disease, which led to an epidemic of plague outbreaks.
So, to recap: The historically fatal disease and dangerous biological weapon known as the “Black Death” was found in a dead squirrel next to the Italian restaurant where I like to get homemade gnocchi. That is – as I said earlier – about six blocks away from where I’m writing this right now. According to a variety of quasi-legiimate internet sources, there's a 70% chance you'll die within four days if for whatever reason you don't report your swelling lymph nodes and sudden uncontrollable seizures to a doctor. Yet, despite these horrific statistics and a history of sudden casualties, I haven't seen or heard of any mass exodus from boulder.
As far as I can tell, our Center for Disease Control and Prevention is really phoning this one in. They’ve claimed missing dog poster real estate on a few telephone polls around the neighborhood with "Plague Found Here” signs, but that seems to be about it.
Well I, for one, refuse to sit idly by while my fellow Boulderites sprout tumors, vomit blood, and die. Here are some helpful tips that should keep you from dying from the bubonic plague.
IF YOU HAVE A RODENT INFESTATION, THEN FIX THAT
The bubonic plague spreads through rodents like rats, mice, and, I’m guessing, bats. If you live in Boulder, also look out for rock squirrels, fox squirrels and prairie dogs. If for some reason you have an infestation of fox squirrels or prairie dogs in your house, then good lord, fix that. Plague or no plague, that is no way to live.
DON’T PLAY WITH DEAD SQUIRRELS
This seems like a no-brainer, but thanks to this little girl/meme, the idea of playing with dead squirrels has unexpectedly become an entertainable idea for some. Listen: You’ll probably get the bubonic plague if you play with dead squirrels. Then, people dying of the plague from trying to exacerbate the meme of playing with dead squirrels will become the next meme. It’s a dangerous cycle, so it’s a good idea to assume that every dead squirrel in Boulder has the plague. Alternatively, you could solve whatever problems exist in your life that make you feel inclined to play with dead squirrels in the first place.
WHEN YOUR FRIENDS DIE, BURN THEM
Our society may have evolved since the Black Plague tore through Europe in the 14th century, but that doesn’t mean the original methods of disposal and prevention aren’t worthy of a renaissance. There’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from that song five-year-old girls on merry-go-rounds sing. It teaches us the symptoms of the plague, ways to cope with the smell of dead bodies, and how to dispose of dead bodies. Cremation will both help stop the spread of the disease, and probably also help dismiss the memory of your friend who just died from the plague because he was playing with a dead squirrel.
BONUS: If this plague lasts until the winter, burning dead people will also help warm your home. Just be sure to have ample ‘posies’ on hand, because if you do choose to burn corpses for heat, everything is going to smell like shit.
STOP HANGING OUT WITH HIPPIES
Stay as far away from people with dreadlocks as possible. The plague is primarily spread through fleas, and there’s nothing more hospitable for those rabid purveyors of death than some vegan, Buddhist philosophy student’s haircut. If you have dreads, an outbreak of the Black Death might be just the push you need to grab those scissors. It’s like overdosing or running over a kid while you’re drunk – it should serve as a sudden reminder that life is too short to be caught up in bad habits. And socialising with people who braid hemp necklaces and attend drum circles during weekday work hours is definitely a bad habit. It will lead you nowhere.
Listen, I care about all of you. Which is why I took the time to write these quick few words instead of leaving my apartment and going to the doctor about this weird pink rash on my hip. So please take this advice seriously, if not so that you can live a long and plague-free life, then do it so that Harold Camping doesn’t use this outbreak as more attestation of apocalyptic tomfoolery (if Boulder gets wiped out, you know he’s going to do it).