Saturday, July 27, 2013

Black Death in the Golden State

In the 80's, we were constantly being bombarded with the dangers of AIDS. We were all going to die and not even the mosquitoes could be trusted. More recently, we've had scares from monkey pox, SARS, and the Asian bird flu.

I have never gotten too worked up about any of these, but something happened last week that caught my attention. According to CBS News, last week officials of Los Angeles County trapped a squirrel that was carrying the bubonic plague.

Let me say that again. A squirrel was trapped in the park that carried the bubonic plague. THE BUBONIC PLAGUE! Other wise known as the BLACK DEATH.

This is the same disease that wiped out a third of the European population in the late 1340's and half of the United Kingdom. Today's pansy diseases can't even begin to claim those kind of numbers.

After doing some research, I learned that the disease was never eradicated. It obviously still exists as evidenced by last week's squirrel discovery. In fact, this disease can kill a person within four days of contracting it, but with today's medicine, it is much more manageable. If gotten to early, antibiotic treatment takes care of it.

All this just makes me think I want to travel to L.A. and play with the squirrels. I don't enjoy being sick, but how many people can say they had the black plague. I could catch the disease, get a round of antibiotics and then go buy the T-shirt.


I would wear it proudly every day. If anyone had the right to gripe about something, it would be the guy who survived the bubonic plague.

"Oh, you called in sick to work because you have the flu. Well, I had the plague."

"No, I don't want to hear about your difficult birth. Last year, I contracted the BUBONIC PLAGUE!"

"Wow. You want me to be impressed because you only missed a week's work when you had walking pneumonia. I had the freaking plague. The BLACK DEATH! Ever heard of it?"

It would give people an entirely different perspective on me. When someone came across something in the refrigerator that smelled a little funny, they would probably call me to check it out. They would say to one another, "Let Brett try it. He conquered the plague. A funny smell won't intimidate him."

If a rabid dog is reported running around the neighborhood, animal control would call me to go after it. When you think about it, how scary does rabies sound when you've already stared the most deadly disease in history right in the face and walked away from it?

My life would be totally changed. I would be a hero.

Although, I wonder if I could still give blood. The Red Cross asks a lot of questions, but I don't remember ever being asked, "Do you currently or have you ever had the Bubonic Plague? Have you ever been treated for the Black Death?"

I'll have to ask.