Misleading Headline Leads To Expectant Mum Panic

It’s actually a serious story. And relatively neatly reported.
But the headline. No.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There’s a mosquito-borne virus found in and around the equatorial belt called Zika Virus
  • It’s a member of the Flaviviridae virus family (actually, you probably didn’t need to know that)
  • It’s been linked with birth defects in cases where it infects pregnant women
  • The El Salvador Ministry of Health has suggested that, where possible, women delay falling pregnant

Sky News reported it like this:

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Look, once you’ve read the story (or once your favourite blog has explained it to you in helpful bullet points), it does kind of make sense. But if you are pregnant and just see the headline, well, it does appear that you’re going to be pregnant for about 166% longer than you thought. (Or 7% if you’re an elephant.) (In which case how are you reading this anyway?)

Simply replacing “Warning” with “Advice” would surely have worked better.

As with many tropical diseases, Zika Fever can be avoided by not living in or visiting tropical areas. Despite the heatwave of the last few weeks in Cape Town, we’re not one of them, so thankfully our local-mums-to-be are safe and can hopefully look forward to entirely normal 0.75-year pregnancies.

Beer shortage hits home

I have decided to give up drinking beer.
Apparently, anyway.

Yes, in some moment of weakness, probably after a bang on the head or something, any ongoing prevarication on the beer imbibage issue was ended and the big decision made.

I can’t recall exactly when that moment was. Neither, perhaps more importantly, can I remember what exactly prompted me to make sure a foolish decision, although I’m tempted to blame Eskom. Right now, everything in South Africa can be blamed on Eskom. Eskom then blame Thabo Mbeki, Mbeki blames Jacob Zuma and then everyone’s happy. Apart from the ANC Youth League. But no-one listens to them anymore anyway.

The only thing which served as reminder to this heinous decision were the barren, empty shelves of my beer fridge when I popped in to pick up a cold one on Saturday afternoon. There was barely even a trace of Castle Milk Stout. It was a crippling blow. Heartbreaking, even. I can safely say this as I found myself both crippled and heartbroken.

I would never normally have allowed such a situation to arise and was instantly suspicious of the wife. She’s long been of the opinion that if I drank less, I’d be fitter, happier, more productive. And she’s probably right.
With the exception of the happier bit, obviously.

Alternatively, it could be the “if I can’t drink then neither should he” approach. An approach with which I would wholeheartedly agree were it not for the fact that it would prevent me drinking. Marriage and pregnancy are all about sharing, you see: while she is eating for two, I’m doing the decent thing and drinking for two. Or at least I would be if the damn fridge wasn’t looking so bare.

Given that it’s now Thursday and I have endured successfully completed 5 beer free days, I feel that I should be noticing the benefits of my new healthier lifestyle.
Well, it’s not happening.

And so, this lunchtime, I will be heading to Ultra Liquors on Somerset Road to replenish my supplies of Milk Stout. And this evening, with the missus up in Jo’burg, I will be revisiting the combination of Milk Stout and Debonairs Pizza while she’s not looking.

Upon her return, I will feign complete and utter surprise at the newly stocked fridge and claim that the beer fairies must have visited while I was drunk asleep. 

I will then duck and roll and head for the tent I have already erected in the back garden for such emergencies. It is ready prepared with everything I need to spent the night outside: a sleeping bag, mosquito repellent, a good book, a torch and – most importantly – a cool box full of beer.