This morning on the way to work, I did as I always do: turned on NPR, tuned out my existence, and robotically replicated the leg and arm motions that safely get me to the Century City Plaza Towers each and every day. Today, however, a missile of emotion came careening through the radio waves and registered in one of those remote regions of my mind that has all but atrophied - some indistinct area that defines and processes what I have heard others discuss as "sympathy"; perhaps even, "compassion".
The news story outlined the continuing prevalence of polio in third world countries, where national health care systems are all but irrelevant and where predominantly Islamic populations, suspicious of white-skinned WHO doctors, won't allow their children to be immunized. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that this is happening mostly in Africa, and somewhat less frequently in India and Pakistan. Though it'd be easy to make a joke about how backwards these people are, it wouldn't really be that funny, because even though it seems like these people would rather eat their own shit and bathe in their own urine than do what is necessary to keep their family healthy, the fact of the matter is that children are becoming paralyzed and dying for no good reason, save the fact that their dad thinks white people are ghosts intent on injecting their sons and daughters with magic serum that eats their soul and turns them into...well, I guess turns them into whatever is worse than what they already are - malnourished and on the brink of death. And that, my friends, is just not funny.
Do you know what is funny? Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline. They really crack me up. Did you hear she's pregnant? Let's talk about that. Polio is so...I don't know - icky?
My fight (crusade?) continues.