Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rabies and Valentine's Day

I bet you didn't know the two were related.

Well they weren't.  Until the husband gave me rabies on Valentine's Day.

And you thought the gift your boyfriend/husband/significant other gave you was bad.  Nothing says I love you like foaming at the mouth and seven shots to the belly button.  I told him he didn't have to get me anything, but he insisted.

I should probably stop this right here before the husband gets all, "I didn't give you rabies!  Why are you telling people I gave you rabies?!!!"

Just so we're all clear, the husband did not give me rabies.  Yet.  I mean, who's to say he won't some day?  Marriage is a journey, one filled with highs and lows, happiness and woes, joys and tears, taking risks and conquering fears, and possibly rabies.  Unless the husband and I are squirrels.  Then the journey will never involve rabies, but probably a lot more nuts.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but it never seemed to be the right time.  And then Valentine's Day happened and I was like YES! finally it is time to write about the rabies scare.

Several months ago, my sleepy little town was under a rabies alert.

It started with an email from the Humane Society.  Well, I guess technically it started with a rabid animal biting another rabid animal, biting another rabid animal and so on.  The alert-threat-of-terror-is-orange-today-wrap-yourself-in-Seranwrap-to-save-yourself-from-doom started with an email, the highlights of which are shared below, with my comments in italics.

The health department is emphasizing the importance of rabies prevention, as there has been a confirmed case of rabies in a domestic animal (wild/feral cat) with an associated human exposure.  So which one is it, Humane Society, a domestic or wild animal?  Your parenthetical wild/feral cat does not provide further description of the domestic animal, it says the exact opposite.  Maybe next time consult a dictionary before issuing an alert that is going to ignite mass terror.

Wild animals (e.g., skunks, raccoons and bats) behaving abnormally - such as attempting to interact with or attack pets, stumbling, or acting disoriented - should be reported.  Stumbling and acting disoriented?  Did you ever consider that these animals may just be drunk?  Don't you think it's a little unfair to assume they are infected with rabies, a disease that's going to take down the whole planet?  True, alcoholism is also a disease, but it doesn't have to be deadly.  There is hope.  Instead of being so negative, why don't you try being part of the solution and equip every household with wild animal breathalyzers?  That way, when we see a stumbling disoriented animal we can ask it to blow for 30 seconds and then know whether to issue a card with the number of the local Alcoholics Anonymous, or run like hell in the other direction.  Honestly, I don't know why I even have to explain this.  You're the Humane Society.  Your entire reason for being is to help animals.  I would have thought you'd have figured this out by now.

How can I protect myself from getting rabies?
When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin where dogs are the major reservoir of rabies.
What?!  I have to watch out for dogs in the country of Latin?!  But I love Latin!  It is one of my all-time favorite countries.  Oh how it breaks my heart to hear that the beautiful country of Latin is marred by such an ugly disease.  My next donation to your organization will be in the form of an atlas.

The email went on and on, telling me how to avoid getting rabies, the signs of rabies, what to do if I get rabies.  I forwarded it to the husband (minus my brilliant commentary) because we have dogs and I thought it would be tres important for both of us to be on high alert for les rabies.

He responded:
Yikes!  We need to be vigilant. I feel like we are in the movie Daybreakers.

And I responded:
I never saw that movie.  Or did I?  Is it about Rabies?  Is that the one with the vampires?  My memory is so bad.  Remember the squirrel at dinner on Tuesday night, and I said it looks like it has rabies?  Did I say that out loud?  I thought it in my head, but don't remember if I actually said it to you.  I remember thinking I shouldn't say it has rabies cuz that's not nice, so I said it looks sad or skinny or hungry or something like that.    Do you remember what I said?  Why can't I remember anything?  When I was leaving work yesterday a squirrel ran under my car from the back.  I didn't see him come out the front so I squatted beside my car to see if he was still there because I was terrified of running him over.  What I didn't think of is, what if he's rabid and he jumps out and latches onto my throat?, which clearly I should have considered, because, hello, there's a rabies scare and I've already seen one rabid squirrel.  But then I told this to BOSS and CO-WORKER - the rabies thing and the possibly rabid squirrel in the parking lot of the Japanese restaurant, not me squatting by the car potentially being attacked by a squirrel - and BOSS said he didn't think squirrels got rabies.  But if dogs can get it, and bats and raccoons, and people, why can't squirrels?  Why are they exempt?  If that's true, it sounds like we'd all be better off being squirrels, because obviously this one case of rabies is going to turn into an outbreak.  Obviously.

And then he responded:
I love you so much. You made my day.

And that is what rabies has to do with Valentine's Day. I send the husband a schizophrenic email about rabies and he responds that he loves me.  True I sent this email about seven months before Valentine's Day, but yesterday on the day of hearts and flowers and chocolate and love and gag me with a spoon, I thought I should write a post about how much I love the husband, how great he is, how wonderful our marriage is, blah, blah, blah.

But here's the thing: our marriage, our relationship, isn't about the mush and the romance.  It took us months and months to pick a song for our first dance, because we don't have a song.  Unless you count Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On and Sexual Healing. And while both of those are, indeed, very good songs to "get it on" to, they're not the best songs to dance your first dance to at your wedding while your grandparents look on lovingly.

We chose some song by Lifehouse, that neither us can remember the name of and every time it comes on the radio, we change the channel.

That's not to say we're never mushy or romantic.  And I certainly do love the occasional surprise bouquet or candlelit dinner or romantic stroll down the beach.  But our love is better defined by the day to day.  Cooking dinner together.  Laughing at irreverent inappropriate jokes that only we think are funny.  Going grocery shopping.  Doing nothing.  Watching Big Love.  Me blogging while he does a crossword.

And maybe one day, if we're lucky...



  1. And by rabies, you mean babies.

    Wait, did you do that on purpose?

    Now I'm starting to wonder if this whole rabies post was really about babies..

    You just blew my mind.

  2. Yes, I did mean babies! And you know what that means. If I am pregnant than you are engaged. Congratulations! When's the bid day?


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