Our state leaders were quite clear about what Mainers had to do to deal with the arrival of swine flu. Top health officials and the governor all advised preparing for the disease’s onslaught in the same way we’d get ready for a blizzard.
This didn’t make much sense to me, but I’m no epidemiologist. So, even though the temperature hovered comfortably in the 60s, I fired up the wood stove, took the snow shovel out of storage, dug my winter boots out of the closet and retrieved my parka, scarf, gloves and insulated undies from the chest where we keep seasonal stuff. Then, I went to the general store and bought a case of beer and a big bottle of bourbon.
And what do you know, it worked. I didn’t get swine flu.
Although on a couple of mornings, I had symptoms of the six-pack flu.
As I write this, Maine has confirmed seven cases of the swine-itis, all of them mild.
High school athletes were warned not to shake hands with their opponents.
Disease avoidance is being blamed for a drop in attendance at Kennebunk’s annual May Day parade.
There were also worries the flu could hurt the summer tourism industry.
And there were complaints because the state had failed to stockpile flu medication in advance, even though any such vaccine would have been ineffective against the swine strain.
The bourbon seems to be working, though. Also, I’m helping my body build immunity by eating bacon three meals a day.
Swine flu isn’t the only health threat the state is facing. Maine is also preparing for colony collapse disorder, which was last seen here in 1608 when the Popham Colony was wiped out. Apparently, the disease has mutated since then, and no longer attacks English settlers, instead causing havoc in bee colonies.
There haven’t been any cases of CCD in the state yet, but University of Maine researchers have joined a study being conducted in six other states to try to figure out what has killed about a third of the nation’s bees. As part of the effort all hives in Maine are being prepared for a blizzard with itty-bitty snow boots and tiny bourbon bottles.
I’m thinking that can only do good things for next year’s honey crop.
While one of the state’s insect species is threatened, another is thriving. Unfortunately, the type of bug that’s proliferating is of the bed variety. To combat the spread of the little boogers (Latin name: minutus boogerus), some pest control companies are bringing in tanker trucks full of bourbon.
Sorry, false report. In reality, they’re importing dogs trained to smell bed bugs.
Yeah, I know, that seems even more ridiculous than the bourbon truck, but I swear it’s true. The dogs come from a Florida company and cost $9,500. Having one sweep your apartment for bugs (an opportunity for some espionage humor, no doubt) will set you back $250 an hour, which is pretty good pay for a dog.
It’s also a lot more than Michael Leonard of Yarmouth won in the annual “Wacky Warning Labels” contest.
Leonard received a mere $100 for finishing in a tie for third. His entry was either a cereal bowl that carried this instruction: “Always use this product with adult supervision” or a bag of livestock castration rings that cautioned “For animal use only.” I couldn’t tell which, because the Web site was a little on the confusing side.
Probably should have had a warning label reading: Do not view this site after drinking lots of bourbon to ward off swine flu. And don’t be fooling around with those castration rings, either.
Warnings of a different sort were spotted around Camden last week in the wake of the controversial town decision to allow a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in the quaint village area.
A vacant storefront sported a hand-lettered sign announcing, “Krispy Kreme coming to this location soon,” while another shop had one claiming it was “re-opening May 8 as a Tim Horton’s.” No truth to either message, which will be a disappointment to Krispy Kreme fans in the mid-coast.
Good news for those in the Skowhegan area seeking a hearty breakfast. Family-owned Charrier’s Restaurant is back in business, after closing abruptly last month due to financial problems.
If you go, order extra bacon. You look like your immunity is slipping.
Here’s a dizzy idea from Portland (no, that’s not redundant – some dizzy ideas come from Augusta): roundabouts.
Roundabouts are what we used to call rotaries, except roundabouts are smaller and lack the accident-causing amenities. Also, using roundabout makes you seem kind of sophisticated, like you’re British or something. Next thing you know, you’re calling bacon “rashers” and sausages “bangers” and soccer “football.” I’m sure they have a cool name for swine flu, too. Probably something like “pig plague.”
Where was I? Last thing I remember is taking a bacon-and-bourbon break.
Oh yeah, roundabouts. City planners are considering the idea of putting one or more of them on the redesigned Franklin Arterial to reduce congestion and accidents.
Portland also has a new police chief. James Craig was sworn in on May 1 and promptly promised to rid the city of swine flu and bed bugs.
Actually, Craig, late of the Los Angeles PD, said he’d be reaching out to the community to better understand its needs, wants, fears and desires. He has yet to take a strong stand one way or the other on roundabouts. Or on having his officers referred to as “bobbies.”
The Maine Red Claws have unveiled their new logo, which features a pig with a bourbon bottle and a syringe.
Oops, sorry, that’s the new logo for the state Bureau of Health.
The Claws’ symbol has a fierce-looking red lobster with basketballs attached to its antennae. The team is scheduled to start play this fall as Portland’s entry in the NBA Development League, against such New England opponents as the Portsmouth Pigs, the New Bedford Bed Bugs and Rochester Roundabouts.
If you believe that last part, you should heed that award-winning warning label, and get some adult supervision.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.