We need to stop Ebola before it evolves

I’m telling you right now, if Ebola figures out how to go airborne, we’re all in a lot of trouble. It’s bad enough that we have hospital workers in protective clothing getting infected. Can you imagine how much worse it’s going to be if this virus learns how to fly? And we’ll all have to wear those surgical masks, and nobody’s going to want to ride the bus or take the subway. If Ebola takes to the skies – and you can quote me on this, because I’ve been saying it all along – shit’s going to get real.

We’ve just got to pray that it never figures out how to drive, because if Ebola gets behind the wheel, there’s no telling the extent of the carnage we’d see on the road. While doctors and CDC officials are working around the clock trying to get inside Ebola’s head, our police forces and highway patrols remain wildly unprepared for an Ebola capable of going from zero to sixty on a full tank of gas. What happens when Ebola gets pulled over? You’re going to make it take a breathalyzer? What about when the next person uses that breathalyzer? We’re looking at even more Ebola. This is how it all starts.

And if Ebola learns how to talk, the threat is going to be ratcheted up even higher. Because a flying or driving Ebola is one thing. But a flying, driving Ebola that also knows verbal communication? I mean, we don’t know exactly what it would talk about, but it’s only safe to assume the worst, that it would start lying to us, telling us that it’s not that dangerous, that we don’t really have anything to worry about. And maybe we’d buy into it. “Let’s try to reason with Ebola!” some especially gullible officials might argue. “Maybe we can teach it to work for us!”

A working Ebola, one that knows the ins and outs of the business world? That’s almost too deadly to think about. Oh yeah, everything would start out OK, small mom-and-pop Ebola shops, promising a better future for the local economy. But when Ebola gets big, how are you going to keep it away from offshore tax havens? What’s going to stop Ebola from lobbying its way into our government? And when Ebola assures us that it’s only working on our behalf, what do you think it’s telling the Chinese? Are we prepared to keep Ebola out of the Middle East?

No, Ebola is only looking out for one thing: Ebola. Which is why it’s imperative that we make sure Ebola never learns how to sing. Talk about getting a song stuck in your head, if Ebola figures out how to start churning out hit pop songs, it has the potential to infect the entire country overnight. Especially if it’s one of those songs that gain popularity on the Internet before making it to radio stations, we’ll all be wiped out if the virus goes viral. Oh but I forgot, you don’t listen to pop music, so you’ll be fine, right? Wrong. You stand in line at CVS, you work out in the gym, if Ebola climbs the charts to the top-forty playlists, there’s really no avoiding infection.

Ebola’s no joke. It’s already here, and it’s spreading. It’s eventually going to mutate, and there’s no limit to the skills and abilities it could gain via natural selection. Ebola might learn how to write. I could be Ebola writing to you right now, trying to get you really afraid, leading you exactly where I want you to go, and then right when you think you’re safe, that’s when I’ll strike. But if I really were Ebola, why would I tell you that I might be Ebola? Maybe Ebola’s developed really strong mental faculties, maybe its plan for us is so complex that we’ll never be able to deduce its true intentions.

The point is, don’t trust anyone. Ebola has changed everything. You never know where it’s going to attack next. Like last weekend I had some friends over, and my buddy Jeff offered to help me clean up after everyone left. Jeff never helps out. Could that have been Ebola at work? Might Ebola have learned how to ingratiate its friends through acts of kindness? Probably not. But maybe. It’s safer to assume the worst, to cut off all contact with Jeff, with anybody that came to the party. Just burn everything and move. And remember: if it looks like Ebola, and smells like Ebola, you probably already have Ebola, because you should never be so close to Ebola that you’re able to identify it by sight or smell.

Originally published at Thought Catalog.

What was that about?

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I was walking down the street and I saw this guy on the other side of the road and I thought that maybe he was making a threatening face in my direction so I put my head down because I didn’t know if that threatening face was in my head or if maybe he was just getting all pissed off because maybe he was one of those guys that doesn’t like getting looked at but then I saw him crossing the street but I still had my head sort of down so I couldn’t see if he was still making that face or if he was still looking at me but then he shouted, “Hey!” and so I thought I guess he is making that face at me but I still didn’t want to look up so I put my head down even lower and shoved my hands into my pockets even deeper and I didn’t want to make a run for it but I did start walking really fast and he screamed, “You!” and again I was just getting so freaked out so now I did start to run a little bit but it wasn’t a full blown sprint because I didn’t want to use all of my running energy at once like what if I started running and then I got tired or maybe there might be an even bigger emergency on the other side of the street and so I thought it best to only trot just a little bit just lightly and that way in case there was any sort of other danger or emergency I’d be able to pick it up a notch run a little faster and then he screamed “Hey, you!” and this time I picked my head up because I could hear him getting closer and I started to panic and I knew that panicking wasn’t going to get me anywhere and so I lifted my head up determined to face this situation and if he was going to yell at me or mug me or whatever then fine just do it already get it over with and so I picked up my head and I said “What is it? What do you want from me!” and as I lifted my head and said all of those words I made eye contact with him just in time for me to realize that he wasn’t looking at me or walking toward me or even talking to me at all but there was another guy to my right standing in some driveway and that was the guy that he had been trying to talk to all along and so they were both there on either side of me and they were staring and I guess they were surprised that this random dude just started yelling at one of them and so I put my head down and started walking again faster this time and I heard one of the guys say, “What the fuck what that about?” and the other guy said, “Fuck if I know.”

Sabres Bruins

My wife and I spent the weekend upstate in Buffalo, and while we were there, we saw the Sabres play the Boston Bruins. Besides a few Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, I’d never been to any NHL games that weren’t the New York Islanders playing at the Nassau Coliseum. And so it was like being in a parallel universe, watching two teams playing that I’ve never really followed.

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Everything about the Sabres is pretty cool. They have cool jerseys, their arena is cool, and it was really cool that they could pack their entire arena on Saturday night. Because the Sabres are a pretty terrible team, and they got crushed by the Bruins. I say that not as knock, because I know what’s it like. I’ve been an Islanders fan my entire life, and, aside from this year’s impressive start, they’ve been pretty terrible for about as long as I can recall.

So it was cool that the fans showed up. But I couldn’t help but notice a lack of energy from the people in attendance. What I mean to say is, based purely on my experience of watching hockey games at the Coliseum, Islander fans have a way of cranking up the energy. The participation, at the beginning of every game anyway, is always nearly universal, people chanting “Let’s go Islanders,” and, “Rangers suck.”

And maybe it’s not fair, because the Sabres wound up losing four to nothing, so maybe they could have gotten excited. But people just kind of sat there. It was like they were expecting to get blown out right from the beginning. When the Bruins drew their first penalty, four ushers started waving these giant white Sabres flags from all corners of the arena in anticipation of the power play. As the stadium speaker system blasted the guitar riff from Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” I thought, OK, finally, maybe now we’ll see some excitement. But no, everybody just kept sitting there, not cheering. Maybe every now and then a dozen or so fans would join in the artificial “Lets Go Buffalo” suggested by the Jumbotron over center ice.

And then Boston started scoring goals. I never figured out what kind of a reaction a goal would draw from the home team, but there was actually a pretty decent wave of applause for every Boston goal. Boston is like six hours away. I have no idea how they got so many people to make the trip. The periods dragged on, whatever existed of Buffalo’s energy disappeared, and gradually that power-play-flag-waving Rage Against the Machine ceremony twisted into this sort of mocking joke.

Again, I’m not trying to dump on the Sabres. It’s really hard to get pumped up about a team that doesn’t do anything year after year. But I was expecting some of the obnoxious blind faith that I’ve seen at Islander games even toward the end of last year, when it was clear that there was no shot of them finishing above last place in the division. It was a fun night, and I’m happy I got to experience a game from a different market. But yeah, hopefully the Sabres pick up a little momentum or something. Because I kind of felt bad watching the stadium empty out after they announced the fifty-fifty at the middle of the third period.

Oh yeah, I used to think that the Islanders had a good fifty-fifty. But after participating in the fifty-fifty at Buffalo, I realize that I had no idea what I was talking about. Whereas the jackpot at the Coliseum might be a grand or two, Buffalo was able to collect thirty thousand dollars in fifty-fifty tickets. They had vendors walking around the aisle with little printers that spat out lottery-style tickets. We should do that, because it was awesome. In fact, for a while I was positive that I was going to win. I could just feel it. I didn’t win, but whatever, neither did the Sabres. I bet you a Boston fan won the fifty-fifty.

Road trip

I’m away for the weekend, and I forgot to set my blog to update automatically, and so in an effort to continue my two-year-plus streak of having written something every day, I’m just going to write a bunch of filler.

I drove up to Buffalo yesterday in the middle of the night. The ride itself was smooth, except, in what can only be a problem unique to today, I hadn’t even bothered to check where I was going. A six hour car ride? Whatever, I just plugged it into Google Maps and mentally checked out.

And then when we were like two hours away from the city, I was told to exit the major highway to a smaller one, and then from that I was directed to a side-street. All of the sudden we were on these back-country unlit roads. I kept thinking, well, Google Maps is definitely operating pretty mysteriously tonight, but there has to be some sort of reason for this late-night detour.

It was raining and there weren’t any lights anywhere. Finally we got to the end of what could only have been described as one of those out-of-commission back roads that the dumb main characters blindly follow in the opening scene to every horror movie ever made. The road got bumpier and bumpier until it just stopped. “Road Closed,” said the big sign blocking our path.

I turned around and tried to make my way back to something resembling a major highway, but Google Maps wasn’t happy with the idea of suddenly being ignored. Every step of the way, it kept saying, “Rerouting, rerouting,” in an effort to lead me back to that dead end. Finally I had to just open up the map and use my finger to trace out a path back to the New York State Thruway.

So that’s about it. The rest of the drive was uneventful. Definitely next time I’m at the very least going to look at a map. When we arrived at the hotel, it was like four-thirty in the morning, and try as I did to fall asleep, I kept having this semi-lucid dream where I was still barreling down the highway, and every time I was just about to drift off to sleep, I’d jerk the wheel and the car would go flying off-road, which would wake me up fully. I can’t wait for self-driving cars.

I guess that’s it. Sorry if you actually read this.

Dirty laundry

Most of my socks have holes in them. Every time I need a pair of socks, I have to go through this giant pile, they all look identical, and I have to try to match a sock that’s equal to another sock. It’s my own fault, I’ve dug myself a pretty nice sock hole here. Every time I go to Costco, I buy another pair of socks. Right out of the package, these socks are great, the elastic is really snug, the fabric firm. But after a month or two months of use, they get a little thin.

sckhle

And so my problem is more than just socks with holes. My problem is that I’ve been buying new socks every month for the past two years or so, without ever having gotten rid of any of the old socks. I’ve got a huge pile of socks, all with varying degrees of wear and tear. When I’m trying to find a pair of socks, I’m laying them all out, and again, they all look exactly the same, so I’m trying to feel a seven-month sock against a five-month sock, and then after going through twelve or thirteen potential pairs, I finally get a good three-month to three-month match, but then I put them on and the left one has a premature hole, and so I’ve got to throw it out and start from scratch.

All of my pants smell really bad. I’m six four and I have a thin waist, so buying pants isn’t the easiest. Every time I go to a clothing store, I always try on a pair of jeans. On the rare chance that there’s a decent waist-to-length combination that actually makes it all the way down to my feet, I’ll always buy them right there.

But I can never put them in the dryer. Clothes shrink, jeans especially, and I’ve learned the hard way that the only way to ensure that right-from-the-store fit is to make sure that they never go in the dryer. So how do I get them dry? I have to hang them up in the basement. And for most of the year it’s not a problem. I take them out of the wash, hang them up, and then a day later they’re dry.

But it’s been so wet lately, so rainy and humid and gross. I’ve been trying to wash my pants for weeks, but every time I leave them to dry, I come downstairs the next day and they’re still kind of wet. And then I come down a day later and, maybe they’re a little dryer, but they’re still kind of damp. After day three, I need a new pair of pants, and even through they’re not super dry, they’re dry enough, and so I just put them on.

And then I notice that smell. It smells like an old basement. It’s that smell that you get when you put a load of laundry in but you forget to move it to the dryer. So I keep it there in the washing machine for like four or five days, and then later that week I’m out of underwear, so I really need to do another load, but that first load is still sitting there in the dark, wet washing machine. I don’t have any time to run it through again, and so I just throw it in the dryer, whatever, I tell myself, maybe the heat will somehow make things cleaner.

But it never does, it’s gross, that smell is worse than just regular basement. It’s regular wet dirty basement, and maybe I’m in a rush and I’m late for work and so I take a shower and I’m running even later than I thought, and so I don’t have any time, I just grab something to wear, anything, and then when I’m finally out of the house, I finally make it to the subway, it hits me, what’s that smell? It’s me. I stink. I smell like gross dirty laundry that’s been sitting in a wet, dark corner of the basement for a better part of a week. And there wasn’t enough time to match a pair of socks, and so one foot feels great, just really bundled up in that brand new sock feeling, but other one might as well be going commando, there’s a hole at the tip, my big toe can’t stop moving around in there, squirming, trying to fit itself through the hole. And did that guy standing next to me move because he can smell the laundry smell? Is it really that noticeable? Am I really that unpleasant to be around? Of course I am. I wish I could walk to the other end of the subway, but it would just follow me, because it is me. It’s me. These clothes smell horrible. My socks are the worst.