Of ignorance and bliss

Russell Murkett’s niggling joint pain flared two weeks after he’d first noticed it. It was the sort of symptom the government said ought to have caused him to be tested. But Russell had no time for the government or their tests. Besides, unlike others, he was busy. Flat out. The ‘Virus My Arse’ t-shirts were flying out the door. He was preparing for a followup to last weekend’s rally. The sizeable crowd had really pissed off the do-gooders. So he ignored the discomfort, the stretching of his neck, his knees buckling back on themselves.

It had been said those infected with severe cases of the virus became the birds they most resembled. The Russell Murkett case altered that notion. The only obvious connection between Russell Murkett and the Ostrich was that Russell had his head in the sand about most things. But your average nerdy sixth grader would have told Russell the head-in-the-sand thing was a myth. It seemed, in cases of extreme metamorphosis such as Russell’s, the virus chose a bird according to its victim’s understanding, right or wrong.

This explained a range of observed anomolies that had been the subject of considerable scientific conjecture. A parrot with an eye patch. A hummingbird that only flew backwards. The phenomenon became known as the Murkett Paradox, a name which, thanks to Murkett’s reputation, greatly amused those in the research community, who were in need of a good laugh. In the long months of Murkett’s recovery, one institution even funded part of its virus program with online sales to colleagues of ‘I don’t believe the Murkett Paradox’ t-shirts, featuring a cartoon ostrich in the famous, yet entirely uncharacteric, pose.

RH May 2020

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