Jeff Ackerman: Don’t play chicken with this year’s flu |

Jeff Ackerman: Don’t play chicken with this year’s flu

I just read where 1 out of every 100 Americans is in jail or prison. The rest of us, I believe, have the flu.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, mind you. I don’t think there was a second shooter on the knoll in Dallas and I have never believed it was all about the oil (just mostly). But I have no doubt that this year’s flu epidemic has something to do with birds and that the government doesn’t want to tell us because it doesn’t want us to stop paying taxes until we are actually dead.

From what I understand, most of America is experiencing a flu epidemic. A recent story indicated it has spread through 49 of 50 states this season. I’ll just guess that North Dakota hasn’t been seriously infected because birds can’t survive the winters there, and germs can’t spread from human to human because saliva freezes as soon as it leaves your mouth.

According to an ABC News report, this year’s flu has been laughing at the flu vaccination shot many of us received. “We do have a strain that is not covered in this year’s flu vaccine,” one emergency room nurse told ABC. “This year’s flu shot does not seem to be effective. It doesn’t match two of the three main flu bugs knocking people down.”

And that’s what this flu has been doing. It knocked me down a couple of weeks ago. I woke up in the middle of the night, and my throat felt like I’d eaten a light bulb for dinner. Then I got a fever and dreamed a giant was trying to steal my Oreos. Then I got a stomach ache and couldn’t look at an Oreo without gagging. Then I started coughing like a chain smoker on a barstool. Then I started to hear noises coming out of my belly that sounded like my dog, Ben, after he’d eaten some deer droppings (that’s right … Ben eats deer droppings. He can’t help it.).

I’m starting to come around a bit, but it’s been a couple of weeks now, and whatever is inside me seems to be kind of sticking around, like an in-law waiting for me to forget to put the toilet seat down so it can jump all over me again.

One woman at work said her doctor told her he thought her flu was a strain of the avian flu, the one that is wreaking havoc on Third World countries where villagers and chickens share beds and silverware. Some believe the bird flu will eventually kill one of every three voters, mostly Republicans, because they are typically not vegetarians.

I’d say the flu has infected at least half of my employees this year. Last week, the place sounded like an intensive care unit. If I hadn’t already been contaminated, I would have broken out my Michael Jackson gloves and hospital mask. I was in Starbucks the other day, and the lady behind the counter was telling another customer how she’s been trying to work through her flu, but that she might have to stay home next week because she wasn’t getting better. Then she took my order and coughed all over my gift card.

I’m pretty sure I caught the flu from a guy I was guarding on the basketball court a couple of weeks ago. Halfway through the game, he told me he had the flu. He’d been rubbing his sweat all over me for the previous 30 minutes, so I knew it was only a matter of time. I also happen to have one of those jobs that require a lot of hand shaking.

“How’s it going?” I’ll generally ask, gripping a hand in a firm shake.

“Not bad,” my hand-shaking partner will respond. “I’ve been fighting this bird flu for the past week. I thought I was going to die yesterday.”

I smile and, as soon as I can, race to the bathroom, scrub my hands and gargle with some hot water.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the bird flu really has found a way to move from human to human, as some experts suggest is just a matter of time. Do you really think GW and the guys in government would tell us? The economy is already in the toilet, and a bird flu epidemic would make a housing downturn look like a picnic.

ME: “Mr. president, is it true the bird flu has already killed 100 million Americans?”

GW: “Let me just say this. People die every day from all sorts of kinds of reasons. I have reason to believe that an al-Qaida chicken cell is involved, and I will not rest, and we will not waver, until the Axis of Evil has been destroyed.”

Until then, if you have the flu, stay home. You are not as valuable to your company as you think you are, and your fellow employees do not want your disease. Get some rest, drink lots of liquids, try to get some sun and, most important of all, don’t sleep with your chickens.


Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299,, or 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley 95945.

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