Pearls Before Swine Flu

So yesterday, I’m in my crowded gym, waiting for a free space on one of the treadmills.  On the TV overhead is CNN and they’re showing a story on the swine flu.

Out of nowhere, I get a tickle in my throat.  And  I cough.

People on the treadmill turn back and stare. One gets off her treadmill and walks away.  Quickly.

I take her treadmill.

It is at that moment that I realize that this swine flu paranoia has its upside.

I will  try this in the Safeway line.

61 thoughts on “Pearls Before Swine Flu

  1. Same thing is happening at school. One of the schools in my county has been cancelled because of a supposed case. I don’t get it. From what I’ve heard, it has killed less people than influenza has this year, and there is a treatment. Whoohoo. People seem to be freaking out over the bird flu again. Which was worse. And I haven’t heard about in years. Sigh. The human population seems to be falling into a pit of fear. Where are our end o’ the world boxes?!?!
    So anyway, we looked up the symptoms in my class, and I realized that I was kind of sore. And had pain in my throat. And my stomach was hurting. So I told everyone. 🙂 I had excuses for all the symptoms, but I succeeded in scaring my entire class. It was brilliant.

  2. Saw the same thing here in Chicagoland, in a grocery store no less. Go for it! Who is it going to hurt?

  3. You know that really does work, I work in a well chilled office so as such I wear long sleeve shirts year round. It was hot & muggy here in Georgia yesterday when I walked over the Evil Wal-Mart on my lunch hour. As I was waiting my turn in the checkout I had a bit or sweat on my brow and my allergies were bugging me so needless to say I sniffed a couple of times and sneezed once, well the people behind me moved away kinda quick to different checkouts and the gal in front of me said something about having forgot something and left as well, putting me next in line. which was kinda nice, am going to have to try this a few other places and see it works again…

  4. I’ll have to try that the next time I get on an airplane. Betcha it’ll work wonders there too.

  5. I got myself a table in a crowded coffeeshop in London the same way during the SARS outbreak! There are worse ways to take advantage of flu season.

  6. For a better yield of positive results, try this while wearing a surgical mask.

  7. you should do a strip about swine flu.

    but by the time it’s published it will be gone. or all humans will be dead.

    either way, you should try.

  8. If politicians say that the swine flu is nothing, then they will look bad. By being overly cautious, they look good.
    But schools are getting shut down.
    So for their own reputation, politicians are ruining the world.
    This leads to only one question:
    Where do I sign up?

  9. I know the hatemail can be . . . unpleasant . . . but would it be terrible to do a PBS strip with this as a topic?

    You know it could be deliciously dark and hilarious . . . .

    Surely people have stopped demanding PBS be pulled from their papers these days, right?

  10. I stick to the elliptical. I can’t even walk fast on the treadmill without falling off, plus they are too complicated and I look like an idiot standing there trying to figure it out.

  11. Sir, I do believe you are a genius. What a wonderful way to take advantage of widespread paranoia! Why not take advantage of those gullible enough to fall for yet another “sars” or “avian flu”. Would you like a side of West Nile Virus with that?

  12. LOL.. hahahah! I love it!
    Will be trying it in a couple places soon.. Though in Trinidad, the paranoia hasn’t set in as much.. But I’ll see how it goes!

  13. A lot of people have been doing that. Sit on a bus and pretend to talk on your phone about your “recent trip to Mexico,” then cough a few times. I was hoping you would make a joke about Pig carrying the Swine Flu, like him coming back from Mexico and starting a Comic Quarantine

  14. wow, so I am not the only to have something like that happen. I work in a well chilled office and as such wear long sleeved shirts year round which when it gets hot and muggy is not always a good idea. I was in the Evil Empire, err Wal-Mart, store next to my office during lunch yesterday and as I was waiting to checkout I had a little sweat on my brow and I sneezed a couple of times follow by a sniffle or two. Let me tell you the the folkes in front of and behind me made some lame excusses and headed off to other checkouts and I made it back to my office with time to spare.

  15. I just realized that you can just stick flu after pbs and it makes a deadly disease.

    You could bet on swine flu killing off 1/3 of the world population in 8 months and write a storyline about it.

  16. Using paranoia to get what you want is a crazy idea :P. Sid Ceaser used to do this as a comedy routine all of the time. He’d sit next to someone and cough louder each time until the person left. It was hilarious to see the people’s reaction to him coughing each time.

  17. Smart move.
    I did cough up ,like a hairball at Target though and no one batted an eye……
    I will attempt it again this week ………lol

  18. Rat should try this–he’s a natural for this sort of thing. All he has to do is take Pig with him whenever he suspects he’ll be waiting in line, have Pig cough, and…

    Someone who hates people as much as Rat does would be bound to exploit the opportunities.

  19. hahaha We make fun of the swine flu all the time… nice job!
    I’m always amazed by people and their hysterics over everything…

  20. hahaha We make fun of the swine flu all the time… nice job!
    I’m always amazed by people and their hysterics over everything…

  21. I hear you! I got a headache at work today and they were going to send me home…..What???!! I had a freaking headache…..but I did the only safe and honerable thing…..I went home and watched the baseball game…I must admit I feel better and hopefully I can have another one tomorrow! It is working out well.

  22. I go to college in San Diego, and my class got canceled because a girl was violently coughing. This paranoia definitely has an upside.

  23. Both my children were coughing and sniveling in the Acme line yesterday. I’ve never seen the checkout guy move so fast.

  24. That was very ratish of you..I have always thought the rat was the real Pastis.
    I say this with all due respect as I could not imagine that Pearls would be any good without the Rat.

  25. As the song goes:

    “Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, the men come, and take you away.”

    Stephen Stills got it right…

  26. I suppose there has to be a vein of evil there in order to inspire the rancor that is Rat. But still; I cannot deny that I am humbled by the extent of it in you, Mr. Pastis.

  27. It works really well on the bus, too. Whenever I have an empty seat next to me and don’t feel socialble, I cough loudly several times as people walk down the aisle. Every single time, they sit somewhere else.

  28. I’m amazed that some school districts have closed for a whole week because of this. How is it any more contagous than regular flu that they close down everything from school to Boy Scouts?

  29. My supervisor sent me home early this last week because I had a cough and a sore throat. SHe freaked out, and started spraying everything with Lysol. I went home smiling, popped a cough drop, and had a great extended weekend.

  30. I got really sick a few weeks ago. No symptoms that would make anyone think of the swine flu. After out of work several days stopped in to pick up some papers, you would have thought I was the manifestation of the Black Death with people waving their hands in front of their faces and telling me to get out. Couldn’t even say that the doctor gave me a clean bill of health. Oh well. Panic does it. But the way, thanks for the REM concert. I usually say Lenny Bruce.

  31. I often cough into a pre-blood splatered napkin, pause, then hold it up and look at it anxiously. Quick way to clear out a busy amusement park on a busy saturday!!

  32. I had those exact same thoughts! This is why you’re awesome– because you are somewhat like me. And I’m kinda awesome.

  33. Does the pig plush come with a face mask… I would hate for him to give anyone the flu… or have anyone give him the flu.
    (leave it to Canada to have a human give a pig a flu)

  34. Story:

    Rat convinces Pig to go to Egypt. People try to slaughter him. Guard Duck goes to Egypt and saves Pig. Pig and Guard Duck go back to America. 🙂

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