Sure, swine flu sucks. It doesn't suck, though, if you were a high-school kid dreading the possibility of making a mistake in the statewide Wind Ensemble competition. You have a reprieve! Sure, it's only temporary, but it's still a reprieve.
That's not the only potential positive. The vicious outbreak of swine-flu hype (as opposed to actual swine flu) is putting in danger one of the stalwarts of our modern education system.
You know who they are: Mr. or Miss Perfect Attendance.
We don't mean the kids who happen to go through a school year every so often without getting sick, we're talking about the kids (egged on by whom, we wonder) who are getting themselves to class come hell, high water, sniffles, a cough, open oozing pus sores, connect-the-dots episodes of chicken pox.
They are getting that damn perfect-attendance at the end of the year, no matter what it takes.
But maybe not this year.
Oh, they'll be well-trained at home: "Madysyn, if you absolutely have to cough, and you can't hold it in until you get home, ask to be excused," certificate-hungry Mom will say. "And remember -- that's not a fever, you're just a bit flushed with excitement over the TAKS tests."
That shit just may not fly this year, though. A little "It's nothing, really" isn't going to cut it when the other Moms are out there bulk-purchasing masks and Tamiflu.
So the school year may just have to go on without those self-satisfied Type A award-seekers. (Again, if you manage not to get sick all year, and take the high road and don't fake a few days off, we tip our hat and we're not talking about you.)
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There are other potential positives for students in this whole swine-flu scare. That bitchy teacher counting the days until retirement? Do you think she's going to come in and spend her last few days inside a breeding lab of airborne nasties? It's substitute time, kids, and you know what that means. Break out the DVDs.
Pop quiz in calculus? Oh, teacher, I'm feeling a little bit....swiney all of a sudden. Or is it flu-ey? I can't remember, because I feel faint. And also contagious. Highly contagious.
Same thing works if you've got that mean-assed bastard or bitch ready to take you on after class. Before they pounce, just start coughing. Very wetly. They won't be in your face for long.
Of course, things may turn sour if you eventually end up with swine flu, but until then you've gotta look at the bright side. And for God's sake, cover your mouth when you cough.