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The Smart Virus and the Green River Camp

He wore coke bottle bottom spectacles over his eyes and a floppy sun hat during our days drifting down the river. No gloves though. That was for his lab and we were a long way from his lab.

We were camped somewhere on the Green River in Utah. In a shallow canyon down near the Green’s confluence with the Colorado. We were seven days into a nine-day canoe drift down the river. It was night. We’d eaten, smoked, had some cups of grog, and were lying back on our sleeping bags with the stars as close as a tent’s roof. The night was warm and we were talking about the things we did when we were back in the world.

He was a scientist. A biochemist. When he wasn’t drifting down a river in the vast American outback he was working behind several levels of barriers against biohazards in a hazmat suit at some megapharma company whose name has now been washed down the Green River with so many other moments from that trip. Everything was gone except the memory of his short starlit night monologue about his line of work.

He was working with the live AIDS virus. And to him, it wasn’t just another chunk of strange almost-alive/almost-dead tiny bit of matter. No. Not at all. To him, the AIDS virus was very much alive. It had a purpose and a personality.

“What I worry about sometimes,” he said, “is that it’s so lively for a virus. It’s mutating all the time.”

“Well, that’s what makes it interesting,” I said. “Isn’t that what a virus does? Mutate? And besides, don’t you have to have long and direct contact to contract AIDS?”

“Yes, now you do. But don’t always count on that. It could always figure out how to get airborne. Then you’ve got a real problem.”

“Okay, but isn’t that very difficult and very unlikely?”

“Maybe,” he said sounding sleepy. “Maybe, but from what I see in the lab I have to say that this virus is a very clever virus. Very clever and getting smarter all the time.

“It knows how to go around things. Someday it could decide to do what everyone believes it is impossible for it to do. The virus doesn’t listen to the scientists that study it. The only thing it would know about us is that we’re all potential hosts and therefore desirable.

“As I said, it knows how to get around things in its path. Things… like us.”

But that was just some fading campfire conversation soon subsumed by sleep. It was just some random observation. It was a long, long time ago, in another life, down on the Green River. Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

Tombstone shadow, stretchin’ across my path.
Tombstone shadow, stretchin’ across my path.
Ev’ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There’s a shadow on my back. — Creedence Clearwater

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tom Hyland January 6, 2022, 8:56 AM

    “Mass formation psychosis” reviewed in finer focus on the msm… 15 minute video. Everybody’s talkin’.

    • jwm January 6, 2022, 9:13 AM

      I didn’t last long with the video. You know, that was my first exposure to broadcast news in a very, very long time. That valley girl vocal fry. YAAARRRGGGHHH. I really wanted to just smack her across the face.


    • Rob De Witt January 6, 2022, 9:26 AM

      Thanks for that, Tom. Common sense on television; whoda thunkit?

      Even someone like me who doesn’t own a television has had a hard time avoiding the explosion of “Right Wing Conspiracy!” media posts in the last few days regarding the idea of Mass formation psychosis.

      My knee-jerk response is that anything which terrifies and enrages the lefties can’t be all bad. I recognize my bias, and I’m comfortable with that.

    • SLM January 6, 2022, 1:24 PM

      The principles of mass formation psychosis were articulated in the book “The Rape of the Mind” by Dr. Joost Merloo published in 1961. He just didn’t use that term.

  • Rob De Witt January 6, 2022, 9:03 AM

    I have a longtime friend who’s been the assistant to a county medical officer for 20 years now, a second career for her. She’s long been my go-to for medical questions; when I asked about the Omicron situation she contributed the following:

    ” The Omicron variant signals the final stage of the pandemic.Viruses tend to start out deadly and less infectious. As time goes on, they mutate, becoming progressively less deadly and more infectious.

    That’s what has been happening with COVID. The omicron variant causes illness like the common cold, but is highly infectious, replacing the delta variant. This is the usual pattern. COVID is now endemic and will be happily surviving by causing mild illness and not being so foolish as to kill its host.”

    Seemed useful to share….

  • James ONeil January 6, 2022, 9:24 AM

    I’ve often thought, stretched out on gravel bars, ‘neath the midnight sun, while on 12-14 day canoe floats down the Yukon River, that the first single cell organism to pop out of the primeval soup, is still alive splitting and re-splitting in our testicles and ovaries, that we’re simply the transport vehicles carrying it we know not where or when.

    Never did give much thought to vira.

  • Mike Austin January 6, 2022, 9:48 AM

    I remember the AIDS panic some 35 years ago. The media and government shrieked incessantly that AIDS would leave the sodomite community and spread to heterosexuals, that AIDS would become “everyman’s disease”. That never happened of course, because AIDS was and is a behavior based disease. That this was obvious was something that the sodomites and their enablers knew but could never admit.

    Much of the hysteria back then eerily resembles the current hysteria over COVID. And guess who was around then working at the National Institutes of Health, and who became intimately involved in what was called the “AIDS epidemic”? Anthony Fauci.

    • jwm January 6, 2022, 11:10 AM

      I remember it well.
      I had been dating the X-rated girlfriend. But even my p*ssy addled brain finally began to realize that fidelity didn’t count for anything in her X-rated mind set. She was a player, and soon moved on. So I thought maybe I ought to get tested. I hadn’t done anything risky, but still…
      I remember about a week of waking up in the night with cold sweating fear. Anxiety without relief. When the test came back non-reactive I swore off sex, and women for a long time. (Got over it, though.)


      • Mike Austin January 6, 2022, 1:16 PM

        Been there. Done that. Got the penicillin.

    • Fletcher Christian January 7, 2022, 2:46 AM

      Behaviour based disease? Not quite entirely.
      Two exceptions spring to mind; that of the faithful spouse who catches it from a partner who isn’t as faithful, and that of a blameless individual who gets it from a contaminated blood transfusion. Isaac Asimov is a good example of the latter, IIRC.
      BTW, there is another class of bad behaviour that spreads HIV (and several other viruses) even better; intravenous drug abusers sharing equipment.

      • ghostsniper January 7, 2022, 4:36 AM

        That’s all 2nd tier stuff.
        Eliminate the 1st tier and the 2nd tier vanishes too.
        As Johnny Carson axed: “Who’s been plooking the green monkeys?”

      • Mike Austin January 7, 2022, 7:12 AM

        I cannot remember who said that “every case of AIDS can be traced to an act of sodomy.” True then. True now.

  • Tom Hyland January 6, 2022, 11:46 AM

    My older brother Bob was gay. He told me he knew it at age 5 when all the dudes were washing the chlorine out of their shorts at the local swimming pool. About a minute later he was horrified to realize that he’s been born on the wrong planet. In the incubation stage, up to about the 12 week mark, the human embryo is female. All of us begin that way. It’s when the Y chromosome is sprinkled into the stew that a male begins to develop. It’s a delicate voodoo and I’ve always thought gay dudes are born that way. They are men with a female brain and they are attracted to males. Lesbians, OTOH, hate men. They’ve been jaded or robbed or abused, or simply rejected for not keeping their weight in check. Thus… the lesbian is formed. I’ll never figure out why… they hate men so much but strive to look like them. So weird. I think the ultimate revenge would be to look like Sophia Loren.

    My brother Bob died from complications from AIDS. He was a month away from his 36th birthday… back in 1989. Weighed about 65 pounds. Suffocated from pneumonia. It was Fauci’s AZT that killed him. He was doing okay until they put him on the poison and he checked out within 3 months. Anthony Fauci is truly the Dr. Mengele for our times. Read the Kennedy book.

    • Mike Austin January 6, 2022, 12:12 PM

      Damn sorry about your brother. I doubt Fauci will suffer any justice on this earth. And I will get that book.

  • John G Condon January 6, 2022, 11:58 AM

    “””“Well, that’s what makes it interesting,” I said. “Isn’t that what a virus does? Mutate? And besides, don’t you have to have long and direct contact to contract AIDS?”

    “Yes, now you do. But don’t always count on that. It could always figure out how to get airborne. Then you’ve got a real problem.”

    “Okay, but isn’t that very difficult and very unlikely?”

    “Maybe,” he said sounding sleepy. “Maybe, but from what I see in the lab I have to say that this virus is a very clever virus. Very clever and getting smarter all the time.””””

    Definate raw material for Gary Larsons “The Far Side” Titled

    “How Biologists tell _scarrry_ stories at the Campfire.”

    • Fletcher Christian January 7, 2022, 2:52 AM

      If you want a real horror story, think airborne Ebola.

      To think optimistically, I would regard Covid-19 as a rather expensive rehearsal for the real killer bug. It was a pandemic waiting to happen, and the reason for that is the overcrowded (in some places) modern world with good transport.

      When an infected individual can get from one side of the world to the other in less than a day, trouble can be expected.

  • ed in upstate ny January 6, 2022, 4:36 PM

    Thought CCR would be doing “Green River.”

    • Mike Austin January 6, 2022, 5:09 PM

      Yes. On a Les Paul with a Marshall stack.

  • John P Coggeshall January 6, 2022, 8:19 PM

    Several of the disturbing images in the CCR video suggested or implied the traditional punishment for treason—“Drawing and Quartering”…{which Guy Fawkes avoided by jumping off the scaffold head first}…you need to look it up very carefully…most modern commentators avoid the details…

    A very convincing deterrent to treason…like the treason that started and then metastasized in America in November 2020 [was it really that recently?] , and grew bigger and bigger and bigger…

    • Mike Austin January 7, 2022, 7:24 AM

      The British used “drawing and quartering” from 1238 to 1867. It was a gruesome and public way to deal with treason. And popular too. Thousands showed up to watch these executions. The executioner was a professional who took his time, hammed it up a bit, played to the crowd and showed fake pity and sadness. This scene in “Braveheart” shows it well, but leaves much to the imagination—a good thing in this case.