Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Notorious Airborne Version of the Cooties

Today at work, I received my free, company sponsored flu vaccine.  As innocuous as that may seem, I can look back to that one event as the point that ruined my day and once again made me lose my faith in humanity.

As I waited for my turn near where the nurses had setup shop, I overhear something that piques my interest.  Our local conspiracy theorist began speculating that these injections were nothing but "clear liquid", (not water... "clear liquid") because the pharmaceutical companies had more to gain by selling us more drugs to treat our symptoms.  After asking him if he'd completely lost his mind, because each lot of vaccine is required to pass rigorous quality control checks of which I'm sure he could request a copy, he then decided to switch gears and tell me some silly story of some no-named doctor that promised him a cure to Type 1 Diabetes 10 years ago.  I bet he did.

Now here's where it gets really weird.

I took my story to another set of co-workers, after which we had a good giggle at the expense of the conspiracy theorist.  The topic then turned to the vaccine and the thimerosal it contains, when one co-worker in our giggle-group suddenly pointed her finger to the room being used for the vaccinations and said,  "Wait.  You're telling me you guys had that?"

We answered, almost in unison, "Yeah..."

At which time she snapped, "I'm outta here!" And summarily scooted out of the room so fast that she almost left skid marks.

I couldn't help myself; I had to know why.  I approached her cubicle to ask her why she ran out of the room so fast.  This woman literally leaned away from me as if I had been infected with the notorious airborne version of the cooties (you know, because me exhaling near her is far worse than the ventilation system in our office constantly recirculating the "infected" air for the past hour).  And she was dead serious, pardon the pun.

So I asked, "Why are you leaning away from me?"

She answered, "Because you are exhaling the virus right now, and I don't want to get infected!"

Try as I did, I couldn't shake her.  The misinformation had won in her mind to the point that she was convinced that newly vaccinated people infect others with live virus within minutes of inoculation.  I even tried to put her mind at ease by mentioning polio, smallpox, etc.  No dice - and get away from her before my newly acquired cooties infects her.

So I'm forced to wonder: is basic science simply too hard for some to even understand the most fundamental of principles?  Or rather, do most of these people just enjoy the thought of the supernatural more, and thus they become very susceptible to the most outlandish of explanations?

Now with my outspoken view of the supernatural and my knowledge of the fact that by comparison my mental capacity is mediocre at best, I'm torn when I say I'm desperately hoping it's the latter.

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