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Swine Flu Endangers College Student Species

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

The other night, I encountered a party theme I had never seen before: “Swine Flu Awareness.” As we entered, we were not only handed a cup, but a medical mask as well (even though medical masks won’t even help prevent H1N1). It was creative, unique, fun, silly and the perfect representation of the Swine Flu hysteria currently circulating among the college student species.

Rumors have been spreading through colleges across the US almost as rapidly as the H1N1 virus itself has proliferated through the campuses. The Swine Flu situation is feeling so threatening that many students actually believed these rumors—that the campus would actually close Friday November 19th for Thanksgiving break rather than the Tuesday or Wednesday closing day scheduled for this week. (lolyearite). I passed by my RA’s room the other day and even saw a message written on her white board asking if school is going to shut down early because of “The Swine.” (Yes, I am embarrassed that we attend the same college).

Every week I encounter the latest updates about H1N1 in e-mails from the college health office, articles in the school newspaper, fliers on bulletin boards and explanations from teachers addressing why one third to one half of the class is missing. Hand sanitizer machines are located all throughout the campus. Bottles of Purel have joined lipstick and cell phones on the list of necessities in every girl’s purse. Cans of Lysol have become the dorm room version of the bibles you will encounter in every hotel room you visit. Facebook feeds’ statuses about having “The Swine” grow more and more common by week. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Internet ad system in Facebook starts advertising the retail sale of pigs in the right-hand column of users’ home pages.

Evading the Swine Flu is starting to feel like a real life video game…Left4Swine, or Call of Swine Flu 4: Modern Survival.  Radar systems are activated every time a nearby player sneezes or coughs. When encountering such danger, players retreat to the nearest bathroom base to gain back HP at the sink,  like the moon wells in Warcraft III. Instead of guns, players are equipped with cans of Lysol, which are sprayed at enemy germs. Orange juice is constantly consumed, like  elixir buffs in World of Warcraft. Despite their passive and aggressive strategies, though, many players nonetheless fall to the Wrath of the Swine Flu.

From the sights and sounds of “The Swine” hysteria, it seems the college student species is on its way to joining Giant Armadillos and Short-haired Chinchillas on the endangered species list.

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