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Ask Bill About It

Ebullient with Ebola

Hi Bill. It's me. Lureen. I mean Anonymous. From the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group, you know? And I need to talk to you so bad, it feels like when I have to go wee-wee on the freeway over to Mountain Home for my weekly acupuncture session with Mr. Fong and there's no exit to get off and go. Isn't that an awful feeling? I think it's worse for women than men and we don't even have prostates. But that isn't what I need to talk to you about.

It's about this Ebola disease I need to talk to you about because I just don't know what else to do because I am so afraid of catching it. I called off the last three Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group discussions because who knows who those people have been touching? Except for my friend Dottie. If she had Ebola, I think she would tell me. As for me, I don't even want to leave the house anymore because how do I know that somebody in the Jackson store where I go to buy my scratch-offs didn't just get back from Africa and is crawling with Ebola germs?

I called all my doctors but they say the same thing. Which is that the chances of me catching Ebola in Boise, Idaho, aren't even as good as the chance of me being eaten by a shark in Boise, Idaho, so they were no help. Even Mr. Fong said I have nothing to worry about, which was a big surprise since he's the one who warned me about eating that gluten stuff and wearing flip-flops. Even President Obama and that Diseases Central place are telling me I probably won't ever catch Ebola, and that just seems like exactly what they would tell a person before she caught Ebola.

I just don't know who else to turn to so I'm turning to you, Bill. I realize that you are probably not an expert on Ebola, but that is what makes me think you can be trusted to give it to me straight. Is there any way to make sure I won't get it? And will I probably get it anyway? And when I do get it, do you think I will probably die?

Would you also do one more thing for me? Would you forget I said anything about somebody named Lureen? I don't have any idea who she is or why I said anything about being her. But I'm pretty sure that whoever she is, she would rather be Anonymous than Lureen whenever she is writing letters to newspaper people. Oh, and in case you're worried too, I sprayed this letter with Lysol before I sent it. Except I found out I was out of Lysol so I sprayed it with Binaca instead.—Yours Truly, definitely Anonymous from the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group

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Dear Anonymous... or definitely not Lureen, if you prefer,

You did the right thing in coming to me, for I will indeed give it to you straight. Anon, I'm afraid that I must tell you it's probable that you either already have Ebola, or that you will most certainly have it within a day or two.

That's right, Dearie. Do not believe all those smarty-pants "experts" who have decided, based on the best scientific data available, that you—along with most everyone else in this country—will not be taking part in this great tragedy unfolding before the eyes of the world.

Who do they think they are, telling us there is no significant part for Americans to play in what may be the most significant event happening this decade? How are we supposed to feel, knowing there is absolutely no need to get all hysterical, or to take drastic measures against a peril that isn't coming? Oh sure, they'll go on and on about how proud we should be of the role a handful of Americans are playing in Africa—how a few doctors and nurses are putting their lives on the line for all those poor Africans.

But honestly, how do we stay emotionally invested in this deal when it's only thousands of poor Africans going through all the drama of an epidemic? The only personal involvement we're going to get out of that is if those doctors and nurses start coming home and spreading Ebola around America like sniffles at a daycare center. Then we'd have ourselves something to feel connected to, eh? Just like in that one movie where we think the young girl is going to die of some horrible fever, but when the sun comes up, she flutters her eyes, smiles and says "I'm starving," and we know she's going to be all right? Well think about it... that scene wouldn't nearly pack the same punch if the movie was made in some African shack and the young girl had a name like Mamabasa or Kwattiwock, would it? Hell no.

No, I'm telling you, this epic needs a U.S. face on it, or else its just another boring story about icky crap that happens to foreigners. So I suppose we have to commend those politicians and Fox News harpies who keep us aware that, no matter what those know-it-all medical people say, we have plenty of reason to panic. And you, Anon, are doing exactly the right thing. By having Ebola, I mean. Keep it up. We need people like you to get people like you to realize it truly is all about us.

And as far as you dying?... ain't gonna happen, girl. That's the beauty of making everything about Americans. We have that magical ability to get all distraught and stressed over something for a few weeks, but then the sun comes up, we smile... go to IHOP for breakfast... and you know we're going to be alright.