Swine Flu’s Watery Rhapsody

The news: Swine flu warnings lash across the airwaves, leaving listeners wide-eyed and talking heads breathless with paranoia. Could it be the beginnings of a pandemic?

The advice: Wash your hands – a lot.

The caveat: Just washing isn’t enough, an NPR story says. You must wash for at least 20 seconds to scrub off all remnants of germs, viruses and other icky things. A preschool teacher tells her students to sing The Alphabet Song to keep track of the necessary time. The NPR reporter suggests, among other songs, the bridge of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

The scene: The men’s room of a major airport. A traveling professor imagines himself in preschool as he lathers up and sticks his hands under an automatic faucet, a song dancing in his head.

“A, B, C, D –”

Click. The sink turns off.

He moves his hands up. Nothing. Down. Nothing. Left, right, up, down. Finally the sink turns back on.

“A, B –”

Click.

Closer to the faucet.

“A, B, C, D, E, F –”

Click.

More soap.

“A, B, C, D –”

Click.

Maybe it just needs a little Bohemian Rhapsody.

“I see a little silhou –”

Click.

“—etto of a man, Scaramouche –”

Click.

“Scaramouche.”

Click.

“Will you –”

Click.

“A, B –”

Click.

“… do the fan—

Click.

“C–”

Click.

“-dango.”

Click.

“Thunderbolts and lightning.”

The wayward professor fears for the world if its fate rests with –

“H, I, J, K –”

Click.

“Very, very frightening.”

Click.

“Galileo …”

Click.

Airport restrooms.

“Galileo, Figaro …”

Click.

Achoo!

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