[I wrote this several weeks ago. I decided not to post it because shit could get real. So far it’s gone well. I figure it’s not gauche to post it now.]
The Ebola Speech You Didn’t Hear
My fellow Americans, as the duly elected President in this alternate universe it is my honor to address you tonight. As I announced earlier today with a handwritten press release stapled to the forehead of the nearest New York Times “reporter”, the topic today is Ebola and what we’re going to do about it.
—Pause for standing ovation—
First of all I’d like to point out that I’m making this speech in August. Right now Ebola is stampeding through mud huts far away and hasn’t messed with America. Better get in front of things than procrastinate. Am I right?
It has become obvious that this outbreak differs from earlier outbreaks. My trained attack scientists, who are hired entirely for their technical skills and not because they have good hair or certain politics or even the ability to interact with normal humans… tell me this is “super bad”.
I could, of course, shit myself. Maybe I could hire a political hack lawyer, call him a Czar, and dump the problem on him. Ha ha, I’m joking. What kind of tool would put a lawyer in charge of a medical emergency?
At this point Ebola is running around mostly in places where the GNP is measured in dirt. This sucks but it could suck worse. We have time. Pay attention now; for forewarned is forearmed.
Further, we will be paying attention to incoming travelers who have been exposed to Ebola. Not something stupid like shooting ’em (seriously TSA… stand down, you paint huffing morons). Instead I’m thinking quarantine. Maybe a few weeks at a monitored hotel? Read a book. Hit the mini-bar. Quarantine doesn’t have to mean misery. Invite the missus and have a joint conjugal quarantine… why not? Don’t go out for pizza, we’ll arrange delivery… by drone.
Note that I didn’t limit going from America to anywhere. If you want to go save lives… knock yourself out. God speed and all that. Just plan ahead to cool your heels a few weeks when you come back.
Also, if you think I’m racist for scrutinizing folks incoming from Liberia, rest assured I’d do the same if a plague started up anywhere from Japan to Denmark. Ebola is to be avoided because it sucks to vomit out your organs. Al Sharpton can blow me.
It might not work. Have you seen those chimps at TSA? You could wheel a foaming zombie through the gate while they’re strip searching grandma looking for knitting needles. It’s simply what one does. When the neighbor’s kids are awash in chicken pox do you run over there and have a party?
I have also instituted a program called “quit acting like a big sissy”. America always has and always will continue to welcome people who wish to lawfully visit or emigrate because we’re awesome like that. However I’m done pussyfooting around when people sneak across. Anyone who wants to enter America should bring a damn passport and knock on the front damn door. If you’re not a shambling mound of bacteria or carrying a truckload of uranium the odds are we’ll welcome you in. For the crowd that’s just got to caterwaul that borders don’t exist please send your missive to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, American does not fence it’s own people. Any American is free to leave any time. We will never ever fence our own people in. Ever!
Sooner or later some yahoo may get the virus all the way from a mud hut to the heartland. Witness the unfortunate soul that somehow got himself to Texas. I’m not angry about that. Really, I’m not. It’s not like anyone didn’t see it coming. If I were to make a speech and say “Ebola won’t get to our shores because magic”, well that would be just plain silly. Also we need to acknowledge that people who think they’re going to die, particularly because it’s true, might do desperate things.
Lets start with the obvious. Remember the scary scientists from ET? Well they’re on my payroll. I’m not paying the CDC to sit around and bitch about bacon and bicycle helmets. It’s their time to shine. I instructed them to show up at Ebola sites with biohazard suits and masks and all sorts of sciency shit and just go to town. Whenever someone turns up sick from Ebola I expect them to come on like a hurricane, disrupt traffic, fuck up people’s schedules, put fences around stuff, clog parking lots, land helicopters in people’s lawns, scare little kids, treat the sick, monitor the exposed, make a mess, and douse everything in sight with disinfectant.
The CDC people also will care for all people with Ebola. I don’t mean stacking victims in a bureaucratic plague tent prison. That’s bullshit. We’re rich enough to give these poor victims top notch care in super awesome facilities. I want them to have wifi, clean beds, IV’s, decent food, whatever it takes.
Notice that Ebola ‘aint like other medical issues. It requires the best possible care and containment. I’m not going to tolerate Ebola victims leaking all over the place at every emergency room in creation… that’s silly and it doesn’t help Ebola victims get better either. It would suck to go to the hospital with a broken finger and two weeks later have your organs explode. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Hippocratic oath somewhere.
Therefore, today I will go to the CDC headquarters myself and check out the staff. I plan to run amok. Everyone that’s a steely eyed scientist stays, everyone who can explain mitochondrial DNA in a way that makes my head hurt stays, everyone who is a nerdy overeducated egghead who loves to talk about bacteria says. Anyone who bitches me out about seatbelts or owning a gun will be shipped to Liberia to help scrub bedpans in a mud hut. Perhaps they’ll learn risk analysis the hard way and leave the rest of us alone.
I’m also offering a simple pledge; “Save humanity and I’ll make you and your giant brass balls rich”. It’s time to give due respect to science. We kicked polio’s ass, drove smallpox out, nuked malaria, and so on. This is just another round of nature trying to kill us. It’s time for America to quit wringing it’s hands and do its thing.
To start with, I’m budgeting money and incentives to retain people who might not be super medical eggheads but still want to join the fight. Money doesn’t mean I cut a check and bureaucrats spend it on photocopiers and meetings. God I hate that! Are you listening to me you pork barrel sniffing shitheads in Congress? Turn this funding into an orgy and I’m going come up with exquisite ways to make you sad. Don’t test me.
I want hazard pay and free training and a six pack of beer and a fat salary to anyone competent who’s willing to undertake brutal and utterly comprehensive CDC training and then get out there and do the dirty work. I have hired Marine drill sergeants and stuffy biology professors for the training. Expect to be terrorized and bored. There will be a test at the end.
Are you sitting on your couch bitching that you don’t like flipping burgers. Do you think you deserve more money? OK stud, here’s your chance to saddle up and ride. You’ll triple your salary the hard way, by doing things that need doing. Just show up and sign on the dotted line. They’ll put your ass to work. I should warn you, this is not a “work program”, it’s a program to get work done. That “basket weaving class” that got you a McJob hasn’t prepared you for this.
Did I mention that the CDC is instructed to sort out losers and throw them to the sharks. I said there would be a test at the end. I bought sharks for that purpose… ’cause that’s cool. If you think Sea World was fun you’ve got no idea what I’ve planned for the reflecting pool in DC!
Those who survive the rigorous training get to dress up in a sweaty plastic bag and clean bedpans at significant risk to your health… all for the almighty dollar. ‘Cause that’s how we roll!
As for the small number of super virus specialists out there, here’s where the “get filthy rich” incentives kick in. I will buy a Lamborghini for every member of the crew that figures out a safe and effective vaccine that’s easily manufactured en masse. I will fill it with money. I will call you up in the middle of the night and give you additional money. After that, I’ll offer more money just ’cause I’m a happy camper. I’ve quit letting the Fed piss money down the drain and instead I’m routing that cash to an Ebola vaccine. Boy did that sure free up truckloads of money! The continuing effort to not be dead will be well funded.
Do you have a brilliant highly trained mind that might be of help? Did you turn away from epidemiology because you were never going to get tenure and you owed eleventy hundred thousand bucks in student loans? Was graduate school and post-doc research proving to you that life is without meaning? Yeah, well before ebola that was true. I can’t blame you for wanting the dignity of owning your own minivan and, after fifteen years of hard study, a lifestyle at least as good as a garbage man. But now the economy of high end eggheads just got a boost. Quit languishing in a cubicle developing hair products and next generation Cheeze Whiz. Shoot for the moon! Beat ebola and you’ll be rich.
As for the delivery of the vaccine (which doesn’t yet exist) I will be giving dart guns to cowboys and offering $10 a pop for every person they vaccinate. They can do cattle so they can do Manhattan. It’ll be fun to watch. Bring popcorn.
I’m not planning mandatory vaccination. If it’s something you don’t want (and you can outrun the cowboys), that’s your choice. Right now the CDC guys are positing videos to inform you of what you’re risking. Watch them in slow motion. If, after that, you’re still opposed, go ahead and drink yucca tea or whatever the flakes do. Just don’t whine to me when your liver explodes out your ass.
Not only will the CDC do its actual job but there is supporting a role for the military. The guys at the Pentagon, God bless ’em, smell money. They’re begging me to send 4,000 people to Liberia. To do what? Maybe get infected and come back home? I told them the military is specifically meant for killin’ things with guns and bombs. As a compromise, the military is now the CDC’s official transportation service. The military will handle transporting infected people. They have airplanes and shit. Let’s use ’em. Also they’re in charge of doing whatever the CDC wants for research. If someone researcher needs to get into and out of “the hot zone” for whatever egghead reason, the military will be tasked with making it happen. They’re also in charge of air dropping materials to those who need and can use it. Plus they’ll offer all the training that can be sent via you tube. Possibly they can also transport missionaries and volunteers who really dig helping sick people.
However, as the Commander in Chief and it is my order that putting a bunch of soldiers in camo out there just for a photo op will get every participant demoted to “shitheel”. (I have created the rank specifically for this purpose and trust me, it’s not a good career move.)
Of course anyone (military or otherwise) that goes into or out of the hot zone gets treated with respect and an appropriate quarantine. Possibly on a floating boat somewhere? I dunno’ that’s their problem and I’m sure they can figure it out. I’m not saying it’s got to be horrible. Maybe quarantine can be fun? Since when does a healthy person in quarantine have to be sober? I have no problem with quarantine being three weeks of sitting on your ass drinking Schlitz and playing Nintendo. Or pipe in wifi and put them to work. Whatever.
Now it’s time to address the American people. Are you listening? Good. You’ve got two jobs; chill the hell out and act like adults. Got it?
Chill out is when you realize Ebola has killed fewer Americans than an average Thursday in Chicago. (Speaking of which, Ramn, can you try to establish some damn civilization over there?) Even if this thing kills several thousand it’s not the end times. Yes, death sucks but it happens. Presumably we all understood the non-immortal nature of mankind around age nine? You know what they call it when an infection spreads from foreign shores onto our nation and kills 30,000 people? It’s called flu season. So grow a pair and learn some math will ya?
As for the “act like adults” part I’m counting on the American people to start behaving like they ought to anyway. When someone dies in Liberia it’s cultural practice to… well I don’t know, take the body out shopping or something. Don’t do that. I expect Americans, at least temporarily, to treat Ebola corpses with the same approaches popularized in the Walking Dead series. I don’t see why the CDC can’t issue flame-throwers?
Also, if things get ugly, stay away from each other a little will ya? An Ebola outbreak is a really stupid time to fly 200 people in recirculated air to Newark to visit Aunt Martha and her six cats. Just Skype her. If she seems sad, order her a funny book about cats to be delivered by Amazon. Also, this Christmas, don’t eat the fruitcake! (My guys at NSA know about Martha’s fruitcake. I can’t say more but trust me on this.)
If this thing grows it’s also a stupid time to gather 50,000 of us in a sweaty mass to watch the Superbowl or (God forbid) a Miley Cirus concert. When everyone all tries to take a dump in the same can on the fourth floor of the stadium, that’s when Mr. Ebola has his chance to end us all. I’m just sayin’. You want a vacation during an epidemic? Visit an empty field in Wyoming. Or go hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking. Americans need the exercise anyway. If, while recreating in the great outdoors, you see other people, wave to them for a distance of not less than twenty yards.
Here are some other basic suggestions:
Don’t eat diseased fruit bats.
Unless a dog has died, heterosexual men do not hug. Keep your distance and express your deep emotional connection by gutting fish at arms length.
Staying home is officially hip. Read a book maybe?
Wash your damn hands.
Would it kill you to stock up in advance? I’m not saying you’ve got to live in a bunker but if Ebola is spreading around your town don’t descend on Wal-Mart to buy crates of Twinkies. I’ve seen what you all do for Christmas sales and it’s like you’re trying to get sick. Think people!
If people start dropping like flies be prepared to miss a few day’s work and keep our kid home from school. Do you really think your job at the soulless cubicle farm and your kid’s third grade recital of Hamlet is sufficient cause to risk organs leaking out of various orifices?
One final thing. Take a shower every day. That’s not going to stop Ebola but just do it. I’m the president of America, not France. Even if we all die in a cataclysmic epidemic of Black Plague proportions, that’s no excuse for smelling bad.
Thank you for listening. Good night.