aired Oct. 18, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmaLeEb1jhA&feature=youtu.be
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of October 19, 2014.
A year ago, if someone came up to me and asked, “Have you ever heard of ebola?”, I would have said, “Sure, I’ve heard of ebola. I’m ebola. I go to the alley every weekend, and my high score is 230.”
How far we have come in such a short time that ebola has mutated from an obscure, 15-year-old virus to an American panic attack. In just two months, we’ve gone from, “Oh great. Africans are dying from something besides starvation and AIDS?” to “Close the schools, block the airports, fumigate the national parks.”
On some level, all this caution is good. Perhaps we learned from the AIDS years the penalty for looking the other way when horror happens to someone else. In 1984, Ronald Reagan and Ed Koch could blink at HIV and say, “Ehh, it’s a faigeleh plague. Maybe it’ll thin the herd.” Thirty years later, we look at Africa and go, “It’s not in our backyard yet, but we live in a small neighborhood.”
So missionaries and do gooders trekk to Liberia and Nigeria and Sierra Leone to help contain the contagious. Good for them. Woulda been better if they’d gone with a one-way ticket. They come back to the United States, unaware that they’re infected. See, ebola is a disease that takes a while to show how insidious it is. Like marriage.
Anyhoo, what a shock! The missionaries and nurses come back on our soil, and we get our first cases in American hospitals, where the protocols are fammished because nobody knows what we’re dealing with yet. Some genius physician says, “Let’s bring the sick people over here because we can treat them better. How do we keep a zillion other people from being exposed? We’ll work that part out later.”
The minute we started bringing carriers over here, you knew and I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody sneezes, someone else inhales, they cough on a third person, and boom, you’ve got school crossing guards in Hazmat suits. How is that I can’t even put a bandaid on myself without fainting, but I know more than The Center for Disease Control?
What I admit I don’t understand is how this disease is spreading so fast. Ebola is not a virus like the chicken pox where a four-year-old bumps into a five-year-old, and soon both of them are home with mommy allllllll day long. Instead, Ebola is like AIDS in that it takes serious physical contact to pass the pandemic from person to person. You don’t get AIDS just from holding someone’s hand. Well, unless you’re holding it halfway up your tuchas. And even then you have to have an open sore for the bad germs to climb into.
Ebola is not carried by air or water, you don’t catch it from mosquitoes—in fact, patient zero apparently got it from a bat. So, if you’re a baseball player, watch out.
We can beg the ebola victims, or anybody coming from West Africa, don’t kiss anybody, don’t shtup anyone, don’t go on the subway and wipe your boogers on the grabby pole—tempting as that is. If you’re from some country where ebola is spreading like Iggy Azalea, go directly to a hospital or, better yet, turn around and get a boarding pass for the first plane back to Lagos. By the way, you have an uncle there who left you $3 million. All you have to do is bring a thousand-dollar downpayment to this lawyer on the internet.
But I digress. President Obama has chosen an ebola czar—I think I once dated a girl named Ebola Czar—but the dawdler in chief is stopping short of a travel ban. Which basically means: Dangerously ill people, keep coming over here, we’ve got a guy with a suit and a desk. Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines is dealing with a stupid nurse who flew from Dallas to Cleveland during her incubation period, and a Dallas hospital worker who’s stuck on a ship that can’t dock because he might be a carrier. (sings) “The blood Boat.”
And yet, through all of this, getting hysterical does nobody any good. The vast majority of people don’t go around handling blood and sputum and hypodermic needles all day. Unless they’re Andy Dick. So calm down. Take your vacation, go to school, eat at the cafeteria. Be happy that some African countries are closing their borders and keeping containment, and do not allow undue worry to keep you from enjoying your day. After all, life is just a bowl o’ cherries. If cherries carried ebola, then we’d have a problem.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York. (Coughs) Just a cough.
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