Really, I had no idea. We’re all ambitious in my family, but hardly any of my cousins have become as famous as me. Visiting every country in the world. Hosted by presidents, princes, prime ministers. Bigger than Gangnam Style. Bigger than The Beatles!
And in just a few months!
I must admit, it’s not because I’m a genius or anything. Most of my relatives just don’t grab you that much. They’re into travel, really. Just want to hop the next bus, keep moving. Me, I like to settle in and get to know you. And that makes a difference for some people. Okay, a major difference.
You have to understand, it was never my intention to get famous this way. Everyone knows about my cousin influenza, who’s famous just for coming back to visit every year. My legacy is going to be different, I know, but I’m embracing that. You gotta be who you are.
And let’s not forget that most of the time, my hosts don’t even know I’m there. And if they do go all haywire, well, it’s not like they weren’t going to die anyway. Sure, some of them were going to stick around longer before they met me, but that’s just circumstances. You’re all toast in the end. You know that, no matter how much you pretend otherwise.
And you bring so much of it on yourselves. The traffic accidents I saw before you stopped driving? Unbelievable. The suicides, my goodness. If cigarette smokers could see what I see, half of them would quit right now. I have no compunctions about covering that tarry gunk in their lungs with my own fluffy blanket. Blaming me for something you all do to yourselves seems hypocritical, don’t you think?
But I’m going to get the last laugh, because I don’t die. That’s why I’m going for legacy now. The competition is down to a couple of plagues and my cousin from Spain. Even so, it’s going to be tough to ring up the big numbers they did. Your species lets money totally distort science and healthcare, but you still have weapons my cousins didn’t have to face in the 1300s.
Like soap. I hate soap. Such a simple piece of chemistry, but one of the wickedest things your kind has developed. You think I’m devious? Go find a picture of a soap molecule and check it out: one end of it loves water, and the other end hates water. Of course it would be humans who come up with that trick, because you’re so split-minded and full of contradictions.
For example, you love to say that I’m a great leveler. “We’re all equal in a pandemic!” Um, not. I’ve seen every type of socioeconomic status there is. Believe me, you are not equal in any way. Just a story you like to tell yourselves. And then the media loads you up with stories about all the various ways people cave in when I show up. Their lungs. Their hearts. Livers. Brains. They might be old, or middle-aged, with pre-existing conditions or apparently healthy. Yet you all talk like I’m the difference, not them!
You know what’s different? Children. Your doctors marvel at how your young host me like I’m nothing. Well, I’m not nothing, but I know what I like. And rich white kids whose parents keep them healthy are candy, baby. So clean and sweet. Even poor kids have such succulent cells! The other day one of my hosts was freaked because his cocaine dealer was on lockdown, and I could relate. Once you know your drug of choice, you don’t want to get cut off. That’s how I roll too. I love these kids!
And they will get older. They’re going to think they’re immune. They’re going to think I’m gone. But like I said, I’m going for legacy. That thing chickenpox does, taking a break and then coming back decades later as shingles? OMG. I love that! I’ve got some ideas along those lines, which we’ll all just have to wait for.
Meanwhile, you could show some respect. Some of the language is, frankly, offensive. You call what you do “population growth,” but when I do it, it’s “replicating.” Like I’m some kind of unfeeling machine that makes more of itself for no reason. But are we so different? I use your cells to replicate my DNA, just like you use your females. You keep them domesticated as second-class beings in most of the world, so you can continue to make more copies of yourselves, even when you’ve already made too many.
And if the women get too uppity, you squelch them -- which is exactly what you’re trying to do to me. Influenza doesn’t cause that much trouble, so you don’t squelch. You don’t bother to find a cure for it, the vaccines are only temporary, and only a fraction of you even get the shot. Everyone tolerates this weird situation in which huge chunks of the population are suffering, but it’s considered normal because you’ve done it forever. From what I can tell, that’s how it goes for the females in your species, too.
But now you’re coming for me with everything you’ve got. As if I were somehow evil, or personally want to mess with you. To me, that’s rich. I’m an entrepreneur, the thing you supposedly love so much. I’m “scaling” my “innovation” as they say in Silicon Valley. Wall Street’s numbers are like a yo-yo, but mine go in only one direction: up, up, up.
Another reason I laugh at your “battle” against me is that you’re losing a much bigger fight. I am the major news story every day because everyone can relate to me. But climate change is beyond your understanding – even though it’s one of the reasons your bodies break down so easily. Your whole planet has gotten so out of whack. And not just the air, water, and soil. Believe me, I sample them all. But I get into your shit way deeper than that. Literally.
The countries you call rich are the sickest inside, in my humble opinion. So much meat coming into the bodies. And these weird fat cells that don’t break down! They come in as “food” and stay as fat. Fat that uses up energy, oxygen, and nutrients – for nothing. You want to know why overweight and hypertense people can’t handle me? Because fat kills. It’s like smoking, but without the stink. You know this and still do nothing.
Makes me wonder about your species’ mutational capabilities. I mutate too, but I get better. You constantly produce new genetic versions that are … how do I say this politely? … not that great. Your governments can’t govern. Your food is so full of chemicals I have to hold my nose in your gut. Your societies can’t share wealth in any reasonable way. You’re still fighting wars, for heaven’s sake.
So I gotta say again, the way you disrespect me is just not fair. Because what if we flipped the perspective, and I were your host, like the earth is? I’d look at your species and think, you’re the virus. And you’re killing me.