The Bird Flu

I just got a call from my grandparents, from their new cell phone. Here is the transcript:

ME: Hello?
GRANDFATHER: Shirley, how do you know when they pick up?
ME: Papa.* I'm here. Hi.
GRANDFATHER: Do you have to press a button? Where the hell is the button on this thing?
ME: PAPA! HI!
GRANDFATHER: Shirley, I don't think it's working. How the hell do you know when they pick up?
ME: [yelling] PAPA!! I'M HERE!!

At this point he hung up. I called back and got the machine. I hung up and called back again and my grandmother picked up.

GRANDMOTHER: [in a very worried and concerned voice] Hello?
ME: [yelling, slowly] NANA, HI IT'S TIM.
GRANDMOTHER: It's who??....Oh, Timothy! We've been trying to call you.
ME: I KNOW NANA. HOW ARE YOU?
GRANDMOTHER: We're fine Timothy. Don't go to Vietnam.**
ME: I'M NOT GOING TO CATCH THE BIRD FLU NANA, DON'T WORRY.
GRANDMOTHER: Timothy, we watched 60 Minutes last night, and we learned of a terrible virus in Southeast Asia.
ME: I KNOW NANA, I KNOW ABOUT THE BIRD FLU, BUT I'VE DONE SOME RESEARCH AND IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE A REAL REASON NOT TO GO.
GRANDMOTHER: Have you heard about this virus Timothy? It was on 60 Minutes last night. It's in Southeast Asia and you shouldn't go there.
ME: YES, NANA. I KNOW ABOUT THE BIRD FLU, BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S A RATIONAL REASON TO CHANGE THE TRIP.
GRANDMOTHER: Your Grandfather wants to talk to you.
GRANDFATHER: Timothy?
ME: HI PAPA.
GRANDFATHER: Is he there Shirley?
ME: [screaming] PAPA I'M HERE!
GRANDFATHER: What? Oh, there he is!
ME: PAPA LISTEN I'VE DONE RESEARCH AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO WORRY ABOUT THE BIR--
GRANDFATHER: Timothy, do you ever watch 60 Minutes?
ME: YES SOMETIMES PAPA BUT--
GRANDFATHER: Timothy your Grandmother and I were watching 60 Minutes last night and the whole show was about this terrible virus in Asia and that's exactly where you're going!
ME: I KNOW, BUT I'VE DONE SOME RESEARCH ABOUT IT AND I THINK IT'S OKAY.

[pause]

GRANDFATHER: Shirley what's wrong with the phone.
ME: [shrieking] PAPA I'M RIGHT HERE I HEAR YOU.
GRANDFATHER: Oh it's working again. Timothy there's this terrible virus right now in Southeast Asia.
ME: I KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS PAPA. I'VE DONE SOME--
GRANDFATHER: Don't be a fool Timothy, this virus is a killer!
ME: OKAY PAPA. YOU'RE RIGHT. LISTEN I HAVE TO GO BUT I'LL CALL YOU SOON.
GRANDFATHER: Timothy we're going to the supermarket so we have to go, but you stay away from Asia, you hear me!
ME: YES I HEAR YOU. OKAY, BYE.

So yes, I'm going on a trip to the epicenter of the bird flu. But only a few hundred humans in all the Southeast Asian countries combined have contracted the flu in the past 5 years. In that same timespan in the same region, no doubt thousands have died in car and bus accidents, not to mention all the other ways people die. It just doesn't seem like a rational reason to skip a trip. I compare it to skipping a trip to Israel because of fear of suicide bombers, when 60 times more people are killed by car accidents than by suicide bombs in Israel each year. I probably have as much of a chance of getting in a plane crash on the way to Asia as I do of catching the flu.***


*Yes, I call my grandfather Papa. Get over it.

**I'm travelling with my friend Andrew to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam over Christmas Break.

***If I catch the flu while I'm in Asia, this entry will be deleted from the blog immediately upon return.

2 comments:

cabbable said...

I laughed outloud.

EggFurious said...

if you return...

Have a good trip!