Looking back, there were simple prophylactic measures to prevent oneself getting sick with the virus du jour. First of all, one should have gotten rid of any homo sapiens americanus in the immediate sphere. Zookeepers from our planet attest it is a dangerous and dirty species, prone to all manner of fancy and distraction, always stuffing fingers in odd places, and obsessed in lusting after objects for fondling and exchange. It is most notable perhaps for its habitual chattering in the spread of diseases of boredom. Anthropologists have long understood that americanus knew no limits in its ability to self-delude, self-aggrandize, self-loathe, and this, coupled with an almost total abdication of self-trust and self-reliance, proved a toxic combination in 2009.
The result that winter was the terrible swine foolery epidemic, which threatened, and eventually succeeded, to mentally sicken and disable huge swaths of the population. A prolonged hysterical contagion, its symptomology was marked by jitters, accompanied by severe hand-wringing and worry warts difficult to remove; every week throughout the onset of winter 2009 saw an increase in the number of cases, mostly among those who were healthy and relatively young. Much as centralized institutions during the period of the Black Death on earth hastened the spread of the bubonic plague – creating sizable vector pools, for example, out of what appeared to be sanctuaries of smart thinking, namely hospitals – epidemiologists here would later trace the dread swine foolery to institutions said to be invested in the preservation of the “public good.” Given the conditions then prevailing in the habitat and hierarchies of h. homo americanus, this should have been easy to spot – these same institutions, specifically the dyad of government-business, would later almost destroy the planet – though the few outlier groups who identified and warned about the sources of the virus were ignored and often derided.
The most disturbing effect of the swine foolery epidemic (and to us on Mars, vaguely entertaining to watch) was the mass introduction of actual influenza into a mostly healthy population via vaccination programs. Not only were these vaccines sometimes forced on unwilling subgroups, they were not fully tested by organizations mandated to review their safety. Following a sustained mental assault by the mass communication networks working in hand with government-business chieftains, the untested vaccines were disseminated, targeting over 200 million of h. sapiens americanus, several hundred of whom perished, as in 1976, when an earlier formulation of the swine flu vaccine paralyzed and killed thousands of the species. The alphas on the business side of the ruling dyad timed the assault to an actual but negligible flu outbreak in October 2009. What was required to perpetuate the swine foolery virus was the spreading of fear about actual influenza, the exaggerating of symptoms, mortality rates etc. The vaccine was then quickly introduced, sans the usual procedures by government, and its efficacy aggressively marketed through the usual channels (screaming, music, bells, smoke) in an atmosphere of crisis and heroics.
When the deadly pandemic as predicted by authorities of course did not arrive, the belief by 2010 was that the vaccine had prevented disaster, when in fact the actual influenza had run its course and the vaccine itself was later proved to be a sweetened syrup. The event marked another example, albeit picayune, of the magical thinking that characterized the final century of americanus on earth. Chiefly, the great swine foolery epidemic of 2009 accrued to the benefit of the business side of the government dyad, as manufacturers of the vaccine were able to rise in the hierarchy.
CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY, is writing a book about secessionist groups in the US. You can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.