One Woman's Week: Evolution On The Number 9

14-08-09

By Karen Fenessey

IT'S hard times we're living in when the weaker members of our society are being picked off like fleas on a scabby dog. I'm talking of course about swine flu. I can only thank God that I am a fit and attractive young woman who will never burden our frankly stupid NHS.

There are many measures I take to keep myself free of disease, including never touching other people in any way and always wiping from front to back. People often say to me, 'But Karen, you work in a school. How do you do it?'. I tell them my classroom is a tightly run ship, where the pupils know not to get too close to Miss Fenessey (unless they've been given a special 'visa'). I also fully train them in the 'three rules', which if you don't already know then you must be living on a farm and probably already have swine flu: Catch it! Bin it! Kill it!

However, I learned even more about this condition when I accompanied my pregnant sister to her check-up at the antenatal clinic. Apparently, the pregnant are especially vulnerable and are first in line for the vaccine – ahead of other special needs groups such as the elderly, who are actually behind regular adults. Fascinating! My sister can't grasp such concepts and got excited about 'hearing the baby's heartbeat'. (I wanted to grab her and say: "For God's sake, Michael Winner's got a heartbeat but it doesn't make me go 'oooooh!'").

Anyway, I was able to implement my knowledge on the bus on the way home. All the seats were taken so my sister and I were forced to stand. A gentleman at the front got up, not for my huge relative, but for an old woman. My sense of injustice was further inflamed when the old lady sneezed and then failed to 'Catch It'.

"Excuse me," I said, "But I think you'll find that my sister needs this seat more than you." My sister became irrational, insisting she didn't want to sit down and so I was forced to remind her about her hormones. The old woman croaked something about arthritis. "Arthritis?" I scoffed, "My sister isn't even married!" At this point, even the self-absorbed geriatric understood the situation and duly vacated. "And by the way," I whispered, so as not to embarrass her, "The first rule of swine flu is to Catch It!"

"But I don't want to catch it. My neighbour caught it and got diarrhea." She was obviously senile. I immediately made my sister wash her hands and face with antiseptic alcohol gel, which I had thoughtfully brought along.

It's at times like this that I like to invoke the prophecies of Charles Darwin about survival of the fittest. If everyone was able to embrace this complex theory instead of demonising poor Charles as a heretic, there wouldn't be any disease and humans could one day inherit the earth.

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