Our company has a Swine Flu Committee.
We met for the first time yesterday. (Yes, of course I’m on it, that’s the kind of thing that always happens to me, though in this case I’m curious as to why. I spent a lot of the meeting looking at the six people in the group trying to figure out why we were the six specific ones asked to join. In my own case I finally decided that, as the virus is especially dangerous to both the elderly and to those with underlying health problems, they were covering both those angles by having me).
I got quite excited when I was asked to join. I pictured us as a pseudo-scientist group called the Anti Coughing, Hawking and Oozing Organisation (ACHOO). We would wear space-suits with our logo (the Flying Snot) on the left breast. Whenever anyone displayed any symptoms we would burst in from all directions like the scientists in ET, and the offender would be dragged away.
Alternatively I imagined we might be more sinister and clandestine. If someone sneezed we would glance at one another, tap our (clean) nose with our (sterlised) finger, and the following morning the employee would be simply gone, his cubicle empty, and with HR having no record of him ever having existed.
The reality, of course, was a bit more mundane, though our name -we’re called the Pandemic Team – is way cooler than my one. We discussed different types of hand-cleaning materials, argued over which posters were too disgusting to put up in the kitchen, and five of the six made the sobering discovery that only one person out of the 110 in the company knows how to do the payroll (by God, whatever drugs are out there, they’re going to make sure I get them).
Then we went out and sent round a company-wide e-Mail about prevention, care and how to recognise the symptoms. One such symptom that we mentioned (and we cut-and-pasted this from an official document) is having a temperature of 28 degrees. It’s a measure of how seriously our e-mail was read that only GoldenEyes (who already has all the handwipes, etc, on her own desk, she’s convinced she’s going to get this) pointed out that this should probably read 38 degrees.
She is, of course, right. If your temperature is 28 degrees you are not a swine-flu sufferer, you’re a frog.