Mmmm, bacon

It’s comfort food week on Mt. Otis. I made an old school taco salad last night–really traditional, uninventive, and awesome beyond words. Near the end of the prep work, I almost went avant-garde. I spied some center-cut bacon in the meat drawer. God, I love bacon.


I screamed, peed in my pants a little, and put a painter’s mask over my ten-year-old half-blind mutt (the boy is smart enough to fend for himself).

You, of course, understand the reason for my fear. It’s all over the internet. Just look at any recipe. Bacon has no place in a traditional taco salad.

Oh, the other thing?

Listen, I just spent a week in Argentina. Most of the people in that part of the word greet with a kiss (one cheek almost everywhere, except for the people from Rio who kiss on two, because they are sexier). My time in South America was spent around more than a few Mexicans. I probably kissed some guy named Christian at one point or another. There was a lot of drinking on the last night.

I should also mention, I’ve been sick ever since. It’s a good ol’ respiratory thing that I can’t shake. If it’s the Swine Flu, I’ll eat my dog’s painter’s mask. I’ve got Casino Cough pure and simple.

I joked for a couple of days before a friend told me it was now too serious a subject to use for comedic purposes. I didn’t buy that necessarily, but after what I read this morning, it’s clear we’ve crossed a line.

The pork industry is now lobbying for us to remove the word “swine” from the description. The marketing departments fear it’s going to hurt pork sales. Government officials are tripping over themselves to use the words “H1N1 virus” instead.

Israel is doing them one better. They’re calling it the “Mexico Flu.” That is going to make things really awkward at the next United Nations cocktail party. Frankly, I think the folks from Israel would be better off keeping “swine” in the name, so when someone over there eats a pork chop and catches the inevitable cold, the pious can say, “See, told you so!” In this case, it’s only going to keep the Jews from eating Mexicans, which probably wasn’t going to happen under this brand of apocalypse, anyway. Probably.

I don’t mean to be glib, but I guess I’m just not so worried about the flu or what we call it. Tens of thousands of people die from the flu in the United States every year. It’s the among the top causes for death annually. Imagine if we had the same kind of panic over cancer. “Have you heard of the Mexican cancer? I’m keeping the boy home from school. There is a kid named Jose who brings tamales in his lunch box.”

Me? I ate Mexican food for dinner last weekend. I made my taco salad last night. And I probably kissed a Mexican guy in Argentina (let’s just stop brining that up).

Should we all cough into our sleeve? Sure. Keep washing our hands? Yeah, even when the Swine Flu panic subsides. Stop kissing Mexican guys? I’ll leave that one up to you, but, let’s be adults about this. There’s a pork industry at stake here, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay more for bacon just because your aunt Hilda stops buying enough pork and causes the industry to collapse.

The unsettling part about it all? This is exactly how a population culling pandemic is going to happen. Be it zombies or chicken measle gonorrhea, the next big apocalypse will begin with a bunch of people panicking, a bunch of media hype, and a bunch of people like me joking about it. Next thing you know, we’re all going to be dead or wishing we were.

At least we don’t have to worry about anything like nukes, terrorism, domestic crazies, a failing economy, or global climate change. That stuff would be scary.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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13 Responses

  1. Su says:

    I love bacon too! Nice post.

  2. Pauly says:

    I thought we were infected with the Costa Rican Monkey Flu complicated by the Casino Crud when we were in Argentina?

  3. marty says:

    According to all I’ve read, you cannot get the swine flu from eating pork. So eat away! Of course this won’t stop most people from the inevitable panic. Obviously, I’m hoping that if this is the epidemic that turns us into zombies, Milla Jovavich will rescue me. That will be sexy times. Sexy. Sexy times.

  4. otis says:


    Pauly–That was the official diagnosis from Dr. Jellyfinger, yes.

    Marty–100% right. Especially about the Milla part. Sexy times.

  5. KenP says:

    Nice to see you maintaining your sense of humor as the weight descends on you for the soon to be two (three in your wife’s view) child household.

    You should also avoid regular bacon and go with pepper bacon until the pandemic is over. Isn’t any safer; just a bit tastier.

  6. Dr. Chako says:

    You should see the levels of panic in the hospital. The administrators feel a need to “do something,” so they’ve sent out a powerpoint slide. Powerpoint saves the day! The recommendations boil down to:

    -Wash your hands
    -Don’t sneeze on people
    -Don’t panic. Until we say it’s okay.

    I agree this is a bit of media-driven hysteria. That said, the single greatest threat to our lives in the next 100 years is probably a virus. Excuse me while I go wash my hands.


  7. Kym says:

    There’s a pork loin in my freezer which I intend to savor in all it’s glory. And as for kissing a mexican – well, got one handy?

  8. Average White Boy says:

    I LOVES ME PORK! I’ll never make a good Muslim 🙁

  9. Gamecock says:

    You’ve got the analysis backward, I’m digging the swine flu scare. Everyone stops buying pork, there’s a glut, it gets significantly cheaper. 2 weeks later, demand is back to normal and the supply hasn’t even had time to knee-jerk adjust. It’s a big win for those of us who love cheap pork.

  10. Da Goddess says:

    Bacon is an essential food group all on its own. I could eat bacon morning, noon, and night. Clogged arteries be damned!

    I’ve already called out a Jewish friend for her swine flu. Her rabbi has been duly notified.

    Your casino cough and my son’s camp cough. What are we to do with you boys?

  11. Jim The Knife says:

    PORK FAT RULES…. Emeril Lagasse
    I love that man for that…..

    Heard on PBS today. 36000+ Americans die of flu each year.

  12. T says:

    It’s the ice cream of meats.

  13. KenP says:

    Well, the whole poker/swine scare has been blown out of the water.

    It is now H1N1 Flu. You may all go back to fearing two outers.