Home | Short Stories | Nº 61 – The name of the Virus? Homo Sapiens.

Nº 61 – The name of the Virus? Homo Sapiens.

Saturday, 14th November 2020

Personally, I always take the path of least resistance. You too? This week I read in the paper that a vaccine has been found against climate change, with a 90% effectiveness rate. The INCF has applied for the vaccine to be licensed, the journalist said. I have to say I can’t wait. When, oh when, will it be available? And who gets the vaccine first? Well, I’ll get that jab, right? Or maybe I should wait for an even better one that would offer 100% effectiveness? No one can say yet whether the active ingredients will guarantee immunity against heatwaves, or what it might mean for my DNA in the long term. Maybe we’ll all mutate into monsters after the first jab? I’ve read that you always need two jabs. Maybe I’ll forget how to speak and crawl around on all fours from one day to the next? Who’s to say? In the next life, I want to be a monkey.

Questions and more questions. I always look for the cheapest solution. Another question yet to be answered has to do with the side effects. There are some indications that with this vaccine these will be well within the range of the usual reactions, which are, in fact, necessary for it to work. What does this mean? Well, first you may get the shivers, followed by a green discolouring of the skin. Fine, I never really liked this light tan colour anyway. I remember them saying, though, that they were still awaiting a systematic evaluation. Hair loss? No problem. Those few hairs I can still call my own…. And if, contrary to all expectations, any severe side effects appear, then the licence could be delayed or even revoked. And then there’s another question: about age groups. So far, we don’t know whether the new vaccine against climate change is highly effective, or if it even works at all at the required level in older people. Knowing this would, however, be important for protecting older and more exposed people with the vaccine.

Three months ago, in the summer, for a laugh, I placed a thermometer in my pocket. After a short while it showed me that it was 40 degrees in my trouser pocket. I found that hard to believe. To be honest, I was running a fever and felt pretty ill. That was down to climate change, I’m sure, but yes, I realised that something was wrong. Each summer, there are days when I feel a bit low on energy and run down, and I can’t shake off the feeling in my mind that I should change something in myself to bring the high temperatures down. But buying a larger freezer is not an option right now. And, in times of climate change, I’m not buying anything anyway. I have to be careful with my money. At the moment I have everything I need, including loo rolls.

So, I went out into the street with my dog, all careful like, put on my mask and ordered a “bica” in the café down the road. Next thing I know my friend João comes along and we start planning the next weekend. Football or the beach? Madrid or London? Formula 1 or the Monchique Rally? But, I say, we’ve got climate change going on. We have to stay indoors. Or walk the dog. I was a little worried that it might turn really hot again and we decided to take this thing down a notch. So, we had a barbie on the patio where no one could see us, downed a few beers and took the boom box along. Isabel and José and Rodrigo and Margarida joined us, and, in the evening, we took the car and went to the club. It was really rocking, man. The Monday after, I felt ill all of a sudden. This fever again, and with a cough on top, too. Sure, we had taken off our masks to dance. They did warn us about that virus. The climate crisis for one has taken hold of me now, big time. Help, I feel so weak!

Now here I am lying on the couch and searching online to discover where I read that thing about the vaccine. Maybe there is some information on First Aid? If they were able to pull it off and produce a vaccine, and I could once more do everything that makes my heart sing, I would take that climate-change jab. Or did I get that wrong? Was it maybe not climate change but something else altogether…?

Uwe Heitkamp (60)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123.
Translations : Dina Adão, John Elliot, Kathleen Becker

Fotos: dpa

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