Our Own Strains Of Sars

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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I don't know how you feel, but I hate epidemics -- especially ones that begin "severe acute."

I mean, "severe" by itself is quite sufficient to convey the message -- that this is one nasty respiratory syndrome. And "acute," at least in my thesaurus, is a synonym for "severe."

Using both words is almost like piling on. Disease namers should be penalized for unnecessary roughness.

Or maybe we should take it a step or two further and call it "severe acute merciless really nasty life-threatening respiratory syndrome."

And who is this World Health Organization (WHO) anyway? If you were a world health organization and wanted some credibility, wouldn't you call yourself something else, like maybe WHAT (World Health Action Team) or IT (Infection Team).

We can joke about SARS now because after infecting 8,445 people and killing about 10 percent of them, the outbreak is finally over. So it struck me that the SARS acronym is still a real attention grabber and that maybe we could get some mileage out of it right here in the Rim country.

Let's give it a try:

  • Severe Acute Rimaroo Syndrome

People who are born and raised in the Rim country and never leave have a bad case of SARS (and probably married their first cousin to the tune of "Dueling Banjos").

  • Severe Acute Rodeo Syndrome

Disease which Bill Armstrong and his Pro Rodeo Committee have given to one another.

  • Severe Acute Roundup Syndrome

People who are addicted to the Payson Roundup, your multi-award-winning hometown newspaper, also have SARS.

  • Severe Acute Rim Review Syndrome

Fans of The Rim Review are our very best friends, so let's hope one in 10 doesn't die of SARRS.

  • Severe Acute Rural Syndrome

Lovers of country things and small-town life are the salt of the earth. They also have a very bad case of SARS.

  • Severe Acute Rabid Syndrome

Have a wildlife encounter with a rabid animal and you are a prime candidate for a nasty bout with SARS.

  • Severe Acute Rutabaga Syndrome

We don't actually know anybody who partakes of rutabaga. In fact, we doubt that we would recognize a rutabaga if one walked in off the street. But it is such a fun word.

  • Severe Acute Radio Syndrome

KMOG, KRIM. So many choices. So little time. It's enough to give a body SARS.

  • Severe Acute Reba Syndrome

You didn't think we'd let country music go scot-free, did you? People who like country music will die a slow, painful death from this strain of SARS.

  • Severe Acute Rainstorm Syndrome

Every time a cloud appears you turn your eyes heavenward, hoping to somehow will it to rain. But in Payson all you get from this exercise is a stiff neck and SARS. It's another no-brainer.

  • Severe Acute Redhead Syndrome

Local beauticians say red hair is all the rage in the Rim country. Blondes may have more fun, but redheads have a disease named after them.

  • Severe Acute Rejoicing Syndrome

We advise all of our religious friends to be careful lest a case of SARS earns them an early trip to heaven. But isn't that what they want anyway?

  • Severe Acute Relationship Syndrome

This one is highly contagious, afflicting all of us at one time or another.

  • Severe Acute Republican Syndrome

As a Democrat, it seems to me there are entirely too many Republicans in this town.

  • Severe Acute Rubberneck Syndrome

Gossiping is a popular pastime in small towns. Just be careful that your nosiness doesn't lead to a bad case of SARS.

I don't mean to be a fatalist, but there are so many kinds of SARS in the Rim country that it's just a matter of time before you contract one or more of the above. I'll bet your starting to itch right now.

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