THE VAULT

Much Ado About Tuberculosis
June 4, 2007 by The Colonel

Let's make us a TB baby!

Some people get things like toasters and fine China for their weddings. They register months in advance everywhere from Bed, Bath and Beyond to Victoria’s Secret. But not Andrew Speaker, no, that’s not the kind of guy he is.

Andrew Speaker is a giver. Described as a “pillar of the community,” it’s no wonder he’s such a giver. What, one may ask, did this generous soul give to not only everyone at the hotel he stayed, his fellow passengers, and even the priest who performed his wedding ceremony? Cash? Fabulous prizes? A new car?

No, this kind, caring attorney of Atlanta, Georgia gave these fine people hope. And while it was the hope that they wouldn’t be diagnosed with a rare, extremely drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, it was hope nevertheless.

Against doctor’s orders, Mr. Speaker traveled abroad to Greece to get married and to honeymoon in Rome, potentially exposing thousands of people to tuberculosis who would’ve normally been exposed only to relaxation, recycled airplane oxygen, or the off chance of carcinoma from over-exposure to the sun. One must make sacrifices to look their very best.

Although Mr. Speaker and his blushing bride-to-be were on a splendid vacation, it would appear that irony was not. The very man who gave his daughter away that day, Robert Cooksey, is a Ph. D microbiologist who works in CDC’s tuberculosis labs. Surely, if he didn’t find his future son-in-law to be a threat, no one should, right?

Once he got his loving spoonful and attempted to return from his honeymoon, Mr. Speaker and his new wife, Sarah, were alerted that the Centers for Disease Control were looking for them. The CDC gave them one option; hire a private ambulance jet for $140,000 and fly back to the U.S. Facing quarantine in a ritzy Italian hospital, the couple did what any young, misunderstood couple does: they ran.

From Rome, they headed to Prague, where they caught a flight to Canada, drove back across the Canadian border and into the United States, without incident. By this time, however, the entire world was whipped into a lather over the potential of a new and deadly tuberculosis outbreak which would finally bring what most of us are already waiting for, the Apocalypse.

Disappointingly, after tests came back late today, Mr. Speaker is not in the least contagious. Logic would make some attempt at pointing out that if he was, his wife, her kid, his parents, her parents, and maybe even the family dog would all be coughing like Doc Holliday by now, alas, logic is something that seems to elude the media, especially when attempting to frighten us into leaving pools of our own urine collecting at our feet.

To the national news media, please: the next time I lock myself and my entire family in our hermetically-sealed, fully-stocked, fallout shelter/rumpus room, it had better be for something that can actually kill me.

~The Colonel