Great New Viruses
Rhinovirus, Calicivirus, Petits Ruminants Virus
My recent adventures in the hospital bring to mind the rich natural history of human viruses. Did you know that the common cold is caused by Rhinovirus, an elegant, gem-like virus named after the rhinestone? Then we have the Lentiviruses, which are the active ingredient of lentil soup; Flavivirus, named after the flavour of the month; Human Foamy Virus, which likes to hang out in beer on tap; Polovirus, teams of which ride on horses; and the postmodern French Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus (PRPV), which helped Derrida and Lyotard explain how the implicit circularity of the concept of reality fosters cultural hegemony and phallocentrism.

Yes, our viruses have journeyed through our history with us just like our dogs and cats. And our dogs and cats have their own viruses too, such as Feline Calicivirus, which is especially prized by Calico cats.

Could it be that my exposure in the hospital --- we were there for about thirteen hours yesterday, before, during, and after my daughter's surgery --- has affected my brain? Hospitals, as you know, are required by law to be laid out as utterly baffling mazes. I have now investigated nearly every hospital in the Seattle area, and I can report that UW Hospital is by far the most brain-bending. Tomorrow, when we go back, I will be sure to bring along my compass, octant, sextant, and marine chronometer. Dropping crumbs or grains of rice along every route traversed in the hospital wouldn't serve, of course, because my trail of crumbs would just be lost among all the other visitors' trails of crumbs.

--- Dr. Phage
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