West Nile Virus renamed A-OK Virus
on 4/16/2003 (2)
Over the past few years, the West Nile Virus has been ripping through the United States like a starving fat man coated in butter and let loose in a Frito-Lay's factory. This has left some people dead, some people crippled, and many others in panic and confusion.
|Nothing is more threatening than a disease spread by mosquitoes... except maybe Michael Bolton, and that's still iffy. |
"I'm scared of things I don't understand," said local man Tommy Thompson, a man who also admits to being scared of ghosts, vampires, and the 1993 New York Mets. "I haven't a clue who or what the West Nile is, and thus I am very, very fearful of whatever it is or might be and I am even more fearful of what it might stand for."
It's with these sort of thoughts in mind, and dreams of gold doubloons in their pockets, the Center for Disease and Kool-Aid Flavor Naming (CDKFN) has proposed the new, less threatening name A-OK Virus over the previous more threatening and slightly confusing West Nile Virus.
"Before when people heard mention of the West Nile Virus, or even contracted it, they were frightened," says CDKFN chairman Don Sampson. "But now when people hear the name A-OK Virus, they think to themselves, 'That doesn't sound that bad' or 'you know, I might like to get that sometime'. I think it's really put a positive spin on the virus. Alot of people are finally going to give the West Nile Virus a second look."
Changing the entire name of the West Nile Virus wasn't always the plan though.
"We initially thought about giving it some sort of clever nickname," says CDKFN scientist Jason Smith. "Something like how the bubonic plague became known as 'Black Death' or polio became 'That thing Teddy Roosevelt had'."
Unfortunately, much like the hopes of so many promising American Idol singers, this pipedream shortly fell apart at the wicked hands of laughter and ridicule.
|Scientist experimenting with the A-OK Virus or man microwaving chicken? It's too close to call. |
"We here at the Center for Disease and Kool-Aid Flavor Naming are good at making names, but not at making nicknames," says Sampson. "Our initial attempts lead us to such laughable nicknames as 'Super Happy Fun Death Time', 'The Eternal Sleep', and 'Black Death 2: A New Beginning'. It became clear early on that we'd have to take the entire West Nile name back to the drawing board less suffer with a sub par and still threatening nickname."
It was during this return to the drawing board that scientist Harry Wills came up with the name that finally stuck.
"At this time, we were pretty much working night and day to come up with a new name," says Wills. "And I was doing alot of Coke. I mean, alot of Coke. I'm sure you all have buddies that claim to do alot of Coke, but I was doing way, way more Coke than them, probably twice as much."
"I came in to work and there was Harry (Willis) lying face down in a pool of his own vomit," says Smith. "I said to him, 'Are you alright?' He lifted his head ever so slightly and with eyes glazed over, he muttered 'I'm A-OK.' As soon as he said it, I knew that this was the sort of image that we wanted the West Nile Virus to have. It
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