As I was getting ready for work this morning, I happened to hear a snippet from the Today show that there is a man in Texas that has a confirmed case of Ebola. The report went further to say that this unidentified man came into contact with about a handful of people, but health officials are contacting upwards of 100 people who may or may not have had contact with this dude. Of COURSE, reactionary news kicks in and they immediately start broadcasting these “what if” scenarios out on the airwaves. It always infuriates me when these stories hit because these “reporters” bring on a medical professional to get the “facts”, but then essentially back them into a corner, only allowing them to provide a WORST CASE (!!!!!!) scenario. Like, Armageddon shit. I feel bad for these poor doctors/medical people. Things can get very awkward and defensive, and they try their hardest to wrangle the rabid news hounds back into reality.
Reporter: So. The United States is now under an Ebola attack. How soon until everyone gets infected?
Doctor: I really don’t think that is what’s happening here…….people just need to be aware of their symptoms, take care on personal hygiene..
Reporter: So you’re saying that there’s NO WAY this is contagious? I find that hard to believe. Shouldn’t parents take their kids out of school??? They can’t be in the same building as those people! They’ll be infected!
Doctor: That’s not at all what I’m saying. No, you can’t catch this disease just by being in the same building as them. How is that a real question?
Reporter: There are reports of Ebola zombies in Liberia. These zombies sneak into your home at night and steal your babies.
Doctor: What?? No, it’s not true that they come back again as zombies. Steal your babies? Seriously? This is a joke, right? No? Ok……no, they will not try to steal your babies!
Reporter: To sum this up, had we not passed Obamacare in this country, then we wouldn’t have illegal immigrants and wouldn’t have this problem.
Doctor: THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OBAMACARE!!!” What the fuck kind of questions are these????
You get my point. It’s completely insane and we will now have to endure endless news stories proclaiming that we’re all doomed and to stop interacting with society. That is, of course, until the next big story breaks.
Anyway, since this whole Ebola business essentially stems from West Africa, this hits close to home for me. You may be asking, “Wait, what? What are you talking about, Marie? You don’t have any ties to Africa.” But that’s where you’re wrong. You see, when I was about 5 years old, I was convinced I was from Africa.
I’m sure that most of you who have read these blogs understand that I was a somewhat weird kid (that story kind of sums it up). I SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY believed that I was from Africa. Countless times, my parents would tell me, no, I was not from Africa, I was from the United States. I would never accept this answer, immediately turning to complete and utter outrage that they would dare tell me otherwise. It got to the point that my mother just stopped correcting me and would humor me. What was my family was like? How many people were in my family? What happened to my family? Why am I now living in Rhode Island?*
I had a whole story. I would tell my parents of my time there. I talked about how hot it was, how I used to carry baskets around all day. I had brothers and sisters, and we lived in a hut. My family died, of course. I didn’t have a good answer as to how I got to Rhode Island, though. That was pretty much the extent of my story, but MAN, did I believe it. Of course, I didn’t have too much to expound on (I was only 5), but I put forth a good effort! I do remember my main focus was to drive home just how HOT it was there. I’m sure that in my stupid 5-year old brain I thought that if I could describe the brutal heat, then they would have to believe me! I mean, that’s evidence I was there, right?
I’m not really sure when, how, or why this story was implanted into my head, but I kind of have an idea. Being a child of the 80’s, there was a lot of news stories about the starvation crisis in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia. There were constant reminders on TV, radio, of children dying there due to lack of water and food. The image of a bloated belly, yet skeletal child laying practically lifeless on the ground, flies swarming on his/her face, is forever imprinted in my brain. It was so outrageous that people got together and wanted to do something. That’s right, people wanted to help out back then, not just in their own country. I also recall my neighbor having a “USA for Africa” shirt that I wanted VERY badly. I mean, it was practically my birthright, in my 5-year-old opinion. (Needless to say, I never got one. Thanks, parents).
It’s really interesting to look back at that time frame and see just how much our society has changed. Now, instead of offering people help, we’re just pushing them further away. It seems like we’ve lost our sense of camaraderie. Maybe I’m looking through rose-colored lenses, but I don’t think so. Of course there are agencies that are helping out, and I’m glad for that. I think the problem is that they don’t get the attention they should. Our news coverage only consists of scare tactics and bullshit. When do we ever hear about humanitarian stories? Not often. Why? Because those stories won’t grab your attention.
I’m sure that this story will amp up more and more in the next few weeks, then drop off the face of the Earth, just like everything else. People need to calm down and stop freaking out over everything. Unless you’re bathing in someone’s puke/feces/bodily fluids, I think you’re ok. Let’s not raise the alarms just yet and try to be a little more open-minded, ok? Ok.
One last thing……..I still want that tee-shirt!!!
*Note: My father did not entertain any of my nonsense and would just tell me to knock it off.