stupid people

I feel like I’m living in an episode of ER…

Remember ER, the wildly popular show created by the late Michael Crichton? I was a super fan of it from day one. I watched it religiously from its premiere in 1994, until I left the United States for Armenia. Then, when I came back in 1997, I went back to watching it. I downloaded all of the episodes and have seen them all at least twice.

One thing I remember about ER is that the writers were always coming up with some new fantastic situation involving the cast. One episode I remember in particular involved quarantine. Everyone in the emergency department was forced to stay isolated due to an epidemic. Seems like all of the medical shows have some storyline like that one. I remember Trapper John, M.D. also had a show about an extremely dangerous and contagious plague.

A 1980 episode of Trapper John, M.D. called Quarantine. It was very memorable.

I just watched this episode again. It’s about a baby with pneumonic plague. I looked it up and I see that it’s a lot like COVID-19, only it’s caused by bacteria rather than a virus. Antibiotics would help, although it seems there isn’t a mild version like there is with COVID-19. Notice that the mom is wearing a gown, hair covering, and a face mask, but no GLOVES! And she takes off the gown while still in the room with the baby. None of the staff is wearing PPE properly. They wear gowns, but no masks or gloves.

Also, this episode is about illegal immigration, which is also oddly timely at this point. I guess we were more humane in 1980, though, because Gonzo promises the illegal alien mom that he’ll do everything he can to keep her from being deported. I shudder to think about what the conditions are like at the southern border of the United States right now.

A clip from an ER episode called “Lockdown”. I believe that one involved a smallpox outbreak.

I’m sure most medical shows have at least one episode’s storyline related to quarantines. They’re exciting and unusual, and they bring out the best– and the worst– in people. A lot of folks are panicking due to the COVID-19 crisis, and some of them are doing incredibly stupid and selfish things, just as they always do in medical dramas. This morning, I read a news article about a couple in Canada who visited a grocery store and bought out the entire meat department– two shopping carts worth of stuff.

Caught on tape cleaning out the meat section…

Dan Marcotte and his girlfriend, residents of Lake Country in British Colombia, reportedly went to a Sav On Foods and bragged about “cleaning house”, as they also wondered if they could afford to pay for all the meat they’d thrown into their carts. They’d run in front of other customers, blocking them from being able to buy meat as they proceeded to hog all of the pork, beef, and chicken. Now, Marcotte is complaining because he’s getting negative reactions from the public, including death threats.

Here in Germany, people have been “panic buying” as well. Just as it has in the United States, toilet paper has become a hot commodity, as have hand sanitizer and hand soap and, curiously, flour. However, the local powers that be have put a stop to the “Hamsterkaufen” nonsense by placing limits on the numbers of these items people can buy at a time. It seems sad to me that this would be necessary in our so-called era of civilization, but it sounds like meat products are going to have to be rationed too, to stop greedy, selfish people like Dan Marcotte and his ilk from hoarding.

Marcotte explains that he has a “big heart” and used his moving company (which gets one solitary one star review) to help people escape the wildfires in 2017 and 2018. But now he complains that people have forgotten his past kindnesses in the wake of his regrettable decision to buy up all of the meat at a grocery store. I don’t condone people threatening other people’s lives over something like this, but I also don’t blame people for thinking Marcotte is a jerk and for letting him know that he is. What he and his girlfriend did is selfish and unreasonable, and karma can be a massive bitch with big teeth.

Marcotte claims that he felt “anxious” about the virus and had bought the meat entirely for his family. He says he has a mental health problem that causes him to “overreact” in certain situations (I don’t recall ever going through anything like this before in my 47 years, but what do I know?) Well, Dan, what about other people’s families? Have you thought about that? Guess not. In fairness to Dan, I did read that he is eager to “make things right”. He donated $1000 to a local food bank, which theoretically could feed up to 3000 people. However, he reportedly has no plans to return the meat he’s hoarding. I wonder if Dan has considered that money is very nice, but if there’s nothing to buy with it, it’s worthless. He says he’s still getting death threats and negative publicity, which will surely affect his business. I don’t think he deserves to have his livelihood destroyed, but he really should give back some of that meat.

As for Bill… he was finally let off “ROM” (restriction of movement) status yesterday, so he went to the commissary, where his temperature was taken, hands were washed, and he was allowed to shop in a group of about fifteen people at a time. He said it was a pretty relaxed shopping experience, although a lot of the shelves were cleaned out. Although there was plenty of TP available, he couldn’t find any hand soap that wasn’t in a bar form. Naturally, there was also no hand sanitizer, and Bill found three bags of flour– one all purpose and two self rising. He got the last of the all purpose flour.

Meanwhile, my allergies are acting up, and I have a very annoying dry cough. But that’s normal for me at this time of year. I don’t feel sick and don’t have a fever, and I mostly isolate myself even when there isn’t a “plague”. Hopefully, once the pollination is finished, I’ll stop coughing and wheezing. Asthma is not a joke, but it’s probably more humorous than a bout with the COVID-19 virus is.

I know there have also been some good stories about people being kind and generous. I guess this story about the “meat packers” really amazed me. I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. People can be very selfish and greedy, particularly during a crisis. This is a time when people show their true colors. I just hope it’s not an extended time, because I’m not sure how long people are going to be able to tolerate this “new normal”.

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stupid people

The Brady Bunch isn’t a benchmark for real life…

I could be writing about Donald Trump’s unfortunate and blatant lies about how doctors and mothers “execute” healthy babies after birth. Obviously, he’s feeling the heat as the next election comes up, trying to rally the stupid and gullible to vote for him. I certainly could come up with a few minutes worth of ranting about his latest outrageous untruths, which, in my view, really should knock him out of contention for a second presidential term, in and of themselves. But I’m not going to go there right now. I’d rather write about The Brady Bunch.

I happen to be a super fan of The Brady Bunch. I was born in 1972, midway through its run. By the time I was a small child, the show was in syndication. I used to love to watch it, because the Bradys seemed like such a perfect family. One memorable episode that has recently come into news was one from 1969, in which all of the Brady kids come down with the measles at the same time. Apparently, anti-vaxers have been using that quaint sitcom episode as an example of what it’s like to have measles. They’re saying that the Brady kids didn’t suffer when they had the measles. They weren’t very sick, and were able to eat and play Monopoly to their hearts’ content while their parents slaved to make them well again. They got a few days off from school and lived happily ever after… at least until The Bradys aired in 1990. Yes, it’s an idyllic episode and one of my favorites. But it’s not reality.

As I got older, I realized that The Brady Bunch didn’t represent reality, even though I still liked watching the show. Unfortunately, it seems that some people are using this old sitcom as “proof” that all of the hullabaloo about vaccinations is just a bunch of hooey. It surprises me that people are really that dumb, but just like the ones who believe doctors and mothers are “executing” newborn babies, there are people out there who think it’s alright to spread the measles and skip the vaccines.

Lots of people have had measles and survived the experience just fine, but there have also been folks who have suffered dire consequences of having come down with the viral illness. Some people have even died. A couple of weeks ago, an Israeli flight attendant who was vaccinated as a child but lost her immunity, came down with measles and wound up in a coma. One potential complication of measles is encephalitis, which is a potentially deadly brain inflammation. That’s what happened to the flight attendant, who was presumably in good health before she got sick with this “harmless” childhood disease. Her doctors have said they’re now hoping for the best.

In New York City, where there’s a measles outbreak going on, twenty-nine people have had to be hospitalized due to the disease. Six of those people have had to be in intensive care. If they survive, there will be quite a huge hospital bill waiting for each of them. If they don’t survive, their nexts of kin will be dealing with the bills.

Another major potential complication of measles is pneumonia, which is sometimes fatal, particularly for those who are already immunocompromised. Even if pneumonia doesn’t kill you, it’s not a very pleasant illness and it often requires medical help to overcome. That means a loss of time, money, and productivity.

Even the person who uploaded this seems to think the measles are “harmless”…

I realize that people don’t like to be told what they should or shouldn’t do. No one wants to be “forced” to have unwanted shots. Some people still resent seatbelt and helmet laws. But, speaking as someone with an advanced degree in public health, I’m here to tell you that vaccines are scientifically proven to reduce the risks related to these childhood illnesses. The vaccinations are proven to be an effective way to cut down on measles infections. Sure, it’s a mild illness for many people, but why take the chance of getting it when all you have to do is get a little shot? Why take the chance that you might spread it to someone who will get very sick and possibly even die?

Same thing goes for the mumps. People think of it as no big thing, but one of the potential complications is meningitis, which is a deadly spinal infection. Encephalitis, which is a brain infection, is another potentially serious complication of the mumps. It can also lead to swollen testicles, swollen ovaries and breast tissue, and hearing loss. Most people won’t experience these serious complications, but why risk getting the mumps if you don’t have to? Are you that eager to see your genitals swell?

The science behind vaccinations has been around for hundreds of years. Some of the vaccines that people are avoiding have existed for decades and have proven to lower the risk of contracting these diseases. But really, I just want to know… why in the hell would anyone get their information about measles from a 50 year old episode of a show like The Brady Bunch? Do people go to Spongebob Squarepants to learn about marine biology? Even Sherwood Schwartz, the man behind The Brady Bunch and its measles episode, had his children vaccinated against the disease. I’m sure he had no way of knowing his cute little measles episode would turn into an excuse for people to be foolish and risk their health, or that of their children’s.

If you’re going to look to The Brady Bunch for an idea of how measles might affect the average person, I think you should also look to the old show, ER, for another view. The 2001 episode, “A Walk in the Woods” shows just what can happen when those “rare” complications strike in a childhood illness. The link will take you to the full episode and, hopefully, some food for thought… especially if you have young children. And, unlike The Brady Bunch, it’s a relatively modern look at a so-called harmless disease.

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