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At work, an acute fear of swine flu, or whatever we’re calling it

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Justice

“If you have (oink) flu, report to the DJ booth,” the DJ announces. “Free pork chops at the DJ booth,” he continues. “Marinated in Mexico,” he adds. I pay a little attention and notice that there is a Level 5 pandemic of stupidity.

The disease formerly known as swine flu is freaking people out at work and the DJ is having a field day with uncomfortable announcements. Didn’t you hear? The swine flu is no longer officially called “swine flu” and is now referred to as “influenza A(H1N1) infection,” by the World Health Organization because the pork companies don’t want to be associated with the disease. But really, we all know that a good nickname will never ever die. Did anyone ever take the time to say, “the artist formerly known as Prince?” instead of just, “Prince.” I don’t think they did. So, “swine flu” persists.

Huddled around a laptop in the strip club locker room, everyone is curious to find out the symptoms of swine flu. The symptoms are that of any other influenza strain because that’s all it is, the regular flu but with a whole lot of press. Suddenly everyone thinks their Vegas spring allergies and smoker coughs are signs of inevitable engulfment by this deadly disease.

A customer from Ohio asks me if I’m scared of contracting swine flu at work, considering there are so many tourists moving through the place. He says he and his friend considered canceling their trip to Vegas out of fear of the swine flu. Vegas prevails, of course, because getting sick is worth the fun. Yes, the strip club environment and close contact are perfect for the quick spread of airborne illness. I’m totally prepared to be bedridden for an entire day or even two days if I should have the misfortune to get the flu. I have not and will not lose sleep over it and I certainly won’t be missing work. I am more scared by the thought that there are so many people who are so easily fooled by the media.

One customer has a theory that all the world leaders called each other and decided to make up the whole thing so that people would stop thinking about the recession. He makes the phone-hand gesture with the thumb and pinky sticking out while immitating a world leader. World leaders begin their proposals with “hey man” and address each other with titles like “bro” and “dog,” according to this customer with a shaved head and a red plaid shirt.

One stripper used the swine flu fear to her advantage. We constantly and incessantly get pressured to drink at work, so we have to come up with clever ways to dodge drinks from customers if we don’t actually drink. We’ll order water shots from the waitress or discreetly spill drinks on the carpet. The stripper got pressured to drink Grey Goose straight from a bachelor party’s bottle and said she would drink, it but has been traveling a lot lately and just might have swine flu. A “bro” pulled the bottle away from her and saved her the trouble of pretending to drink. Swine flu isn’t all bad.

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