Survival of the shiftless  

Saturday, 12 January 2008

There is talk at the moment about the spread of the dreaded winter vomiting disease and how it spells the end of the economy as nobody can get off the khazi long enough to do anything constructive. Having had an unexpected and rather unpleasent brush with the norovirus during a business trip to Brussels a couple of years ago, I can fully attest to the power of this particular nasty to seriously rearrange your diary: Cancel my meetings Miss Jones, I've got an all-day with Ralph and Huey. And it's not an experience I'd wish to re-visit.

This is, of course, a feeling shared by anyone with half a brain. We are all being told to wash our hands regularly, and if we are unlucky enough to catch the bug, don't struggle in to work with a cork up your bum because you'll more than likely infect everyone else. Sound advice, and one that most people can see the sense of. Yet, in spite of all these laudable precautions, statistics show this bug has spread extremely quickly - even for a bug that seems to have evolved running shoes. There's got to be a reason for this rapid spread of contagion, and I think I have stumbled upon the answer. Or slid upon it, to be more precise.

I refer of course to the modern craze for spitting. It seems that a large percentage of today's youth are incapable of walking even a few feet without feeling the urge to expel their bodily fluids for the enjoyment of passing pedestrians. Somedays, it's like it's been raining oysters on the parts of the High Street frequented by said sallow-faced, sportswear clad youths. It's little wonder that bugs of all descriptions get to visit a whole lot more places now - carried on the soles of passing people into homes, hospitals and workplaces. Nobody seems to have connected the idea of spitting and the spread of disease, yet I would of thought it was bloody obvious. If I dropped my Y-Fronts in the street and allowed the norovirus free reign to demonstrate its more "southerly" symptoms, I'm sure people would have something to say. Not a pleasant sight, I agree - but in terms of spreading disease, what's the difference? Yet nobody says a word when Wayne decides to share the fecund contents of his upper respiratory tract with the world.

Yet, nature is a clever thing and I have a theory that what we are witnessing is not in fact another example of anti-social behaviour, but actually the miracle of evolution happening right before our eyes on the highways and byways of England. Nature, as we know, abhors a vacuum; for example, the kind of vacuum that might exist between your average lout's ears. My belief is that the reason why the winter vomiting bug has been so successful is that it has moved into the vacuum left by a combination of junk food, mindless TV and alcopops and is actually now running the show - driving around in Wayne's gormless carcass, gobbing out its youngsters as it goes. That would explain a lot. Apart from why it's called "evolution"

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