This Little Piggy…


There are any number of ideas introduced by Douglas Adams in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books that have resonated with me in real life.

Obviously, for one, there’s Babel Fish, that’s taken on a nonfictional existance.

More personally, for example, I’ll have to admit that I’m totally vainglorious enough that in the wake of my divorce, there were times I compared the experience somewhat to the Total Perspective Vortex, coming out of it with the realization of who am I in the grand scheme of things, the context of my place in the entire universe, and knowing that “Didn’t I tell you, baby — I’m David Hitt.”

And then there’s — and I love this one — the Somebody Else’s Problem Field. An SEP Field is basically a cloaking device that works by causing a viewer’s brain not to be able to see something because it writes it off as, well, somebody else’s problem. And I have to confess, an SEP Field would definitely work on me, because that is exactly how my brain works.

Take, for example, swine flu. I started hearing about swine flu on Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday. I don’t remember exactly for sure, because I heard about it, and wrote it off immediately as, well, Somebody Else’s Problem. It’ll be in the news for some period of time in other parts of the country like California and Texas and New York, and everybody will be all scared about it, but then it’ll be over, and my life will have been affected exactly zero.

And then I came into work Thursday, to discover that all of the local schools were closed here because swine flu had apparently made its way to the Madison County, Alabama. And, since I don’t have kids, that’s still on the borderline of Somebody Else’s Problem, except that it meant that some of my coworkers weren’t here yesterday and today, which cancelled a meeting, etc.

Not exactly devastating impact, but crossing the line out of Somebody Else’s Problem into Things That Affect Me Personally.

Very odd, really.

So has swine flu affected you personally yet?