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October 06, 2005

Fluish ethical dilemmas

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Now that George W., the New York Times, NPR and The National Geographic mentioned the avian flu this week, or as some important blogger put it, "It's all flu all the time", people are not sighing as deeply when I feel a burst of civic responsibility, and bring up the subject.

However, I was abruptly reminded of a potential ethical dilemma this morning, when my dear next door neighbor, who has been yeh, yeh, yehing me for many weeks about this issue, (even after I sent him many friendly preparedness tips) said he had heard something about the avian flu on the radio.

"Finally", I said.

"Yeah" he said "I heard it wasn't going to be so bad."

That's when I lurched through the privet and screamed into the open window of his SUV, "DON'T BELIEVE THEM, you HAVE to be prepared."

He said "Oh no I don't. We'll just come over to your house if things get bad."

Uh huh.

The tale of the ant and the grasshopper ends with the comforting words "Soon the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger. He staggered to the ants' hill and saw them handing out corn from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity."

Unfortunately, the fable does not speak to the feelings of the ants, peeking out of their ant hill at the starving grasshopper. Are they saying, it serves him right? Or are they saying, we are friends, we cannot let a friend starve, no matter how foolish his decisions have been. The grasshopper didn't have nine year old twins either. Four extra people would tax our supplies mightily.

My neighbor made me promise not to tell his wife, since she has quite a germ phobia . Her twins have tortured her forever by alternatively threatening to touch the toilet seat in restaurants, while she is busy disinfecting for the other. I.am about to break my promise.

At least I have decided what to do about the fact that they have not ordered Tamiflu. Dr. Woodson informs us that in the case of a tamiflu shortage, since it doesn't metabolize, it can be recycled through the urine. He recommends serving it fresh, cooled, with citrus flavoring. I shall deliver ours daily to their doorstep.

Photo note: Since I could not find the plastic ants we used to throw at Passover to symbolize one of the plagues, and, for the first time this summe,r I did not have an army of black ants marching across my kitchen, I resorted to a reduced xerox copy. The grasshopper is a reed sculpture, brought back as a present to me from Thailand, from a person who knows my taste for the bizarre.

Posted by Dakota at October 6, 2005 05:53 PM