Saturday, September 26, 2020
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Steve Cameron: WE ALL NEED A CUTE CAPYBARA

| March 25, 2020 10:11 AM

Still here.

So…Easter?

We all bust loose and go hustling to our favorite restaurant, which by federal regulation will then be open and crammed with customers.

The president called it a “beautiful timeline,” likely alluding to the holiest day in Christianity.

A friend of mine phoned from New York City just after the announcement, and said: “Maybe we ought to stop all these deaths before he stages a resurrection.”

More on this tomorrow, but my verdict?

Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t a very good day here in isolation.

My friend Lin and I were planning a trip to Trader Joe’s in Spokane. She’s my driver, since I’m just two weeks out from retinal eye surgery and can’t take the wheel just yet.

The damnEdest thing happened, though.

Lin got a moth caught in her ear, had to visit an urgent care clinic to have it removed and, understandably, lost her enthusiasm for an outing – what with echoes of all that fluttering.

True story.

Therefore…

Stuck at home again.

It was frustrating, because I had everything packed for our trip – portable hand sanitizer, two rolls of disinfectant wipes, can of Mace to enforce the six-foot exclusion zone.

Oh, and a 24-roll pack of toilet paper for the trunk, just in case someone wanted to trade me for, I don’t know, maybe a Toyota Corolla?

With Trader Joe’s off the menu, I decided to dig in and keep my vow of trying to learn something new and useful every day I’m in lockdown.

And this gem was right up the global alley.

Did you know that viruses were only discovered during a frantic search to save a Dutch tobacco crop?

Yep.

I found this in that wonderful Smithsonian magazine, which I don’t read as often as I should…

“When German pathologist Robert Koch discovered the bacterium behind tuberculosis in 1882, he included a short guide for linking microorganisms to the diseases they cause.

“It was a windfall for germ theory, the modern understanding that pathogens can make us sick.

“But it didn’t only shake up the field of medicine: Botanists took note, too.

“When a blight of mosaic disease threatened European tobacco crops in the mid-1800s, plant pathologists set out to identify its root cause.

“For decades, only one forward-thinking botanist, Martinus Beijerinck, realized the source was neither a bacterial nor a fungal infection, but something completely different: a virus.

“The study of viruses started not in medical science, but in botany, the study of plants.

“Viruses are so small -- and so strange -- that it would take decades for scientific consensus to agree that they existed at all.”

I’ve got an answer for those men of science, just a couple hundred years later.

The tiny virus is indeed, absolutely here, and it’s a bitch.

Dr. Antonio Fauci, the president’s advisor on pandemics, bee stings and mumps, says the government will be “flexible” with timelines, thinking first of the sick, and of potential future victims of our little invisible virus.

Even that sounded scary, and I didn’t want to try napping in the wrong mood.

So courtesy of CNN and YouTube, I watched a small herd of capybaras floating lazily in a pond full of oranges.

In case you somehow aren’t aware, capybaras (native to South America) are the world’s largest rodents, sometimes standing two feet high and weighing more than a hundred pounds.

They’re cute, friendly, intelligent and they were…somehow quite comforting, just lolling around in the water.

And they make great pals for cats.

Shall we get a pair and move to the country, Sammie?

You have to have at least two, because they become emotionally stressed when left alone.

I know the feeling.

Wave a paw at the folks, Sammie, and purr like you’re glad they’ll be back.


You’re welcome to join the blog. Any time, on any subject. Or with any opinion that doesn’t get us sued.

scameron@cdapress.com