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What with all the ‘thrax going around, I've begun to be a little more concerned about all sorts of germs and bacteria. I've never been the type of person to mind a little dirt or illness. Sometimes I don't bother to wash off apples before I eat them, pesticides be damned. I don't get a flu shot and I don't like the idea of taking antibiotics for colds (that whole thing about the bacteria building immunities and becoming supergerms), so it's not like I'm running around in a face mask; I'm just concerned. Let's put it this way: I'm not concerned enough to go to the trouble of ironing my mail (they say the steam heat kills the spores), but I have been sticking it in the microwave on top of a bowl of water for a few minutes. My VISA bills are scary enough without having to worry about contracting a fatal disease ... and I don't even want to talk about my student loans. But, it seems, at least from what I've seen recently, that the idea of biological warfare is the farthest thing from anyone's mind. At least when they go out. Or maybe it's just the appropriate time to party like it's the end of the world and no one cares about which way they go. The day before Halloween I attended a private little costume soiree at Not Prince Mongo's Planet. The music was pumping, the beer was flowing, and about 200 decked-out med students (along with a few med students who weren't decked out and a few decked-outers who weren't med students) were getting their groove on. And every so often I would go to the bar and get a plastic cup of beer. Then I would weave my way back to the dance floor, take a couple of sips, and set the cup down nearby. I'd do a little shimmy, a little shake, and then reach for my beer again. Only, it would be gone. Whisked away not by an attentive waitstaff but young men and women who might one day be doctors. I actually watched one girl pick up my cup (and I'm sure it was mine because it had barely left my grasp) and down the contents inside. Luckily, it was one of those fun free beer parties so I didn't really care. But when it kept happening, I got a little concerned. What if I had put something in that? I didn't and I wouldn't, but they didn't know whose drink that was (except for one time, when I was leaning on a railing with my drink right next to me, inches away from my arm even, when it got swiped; or it might have fallen off the railing, I'm not sure, but I think it was swiped). What if it had roofies in it? Or some sort of terrorist addition? It sounds unlikely, but who would have thought people would be sending anthrax through the U.S. Mail? (Yes, I am obsessed with all the anthrax stuff. I'm in the media, after all, and if you've seen the coverage, you know that media types love the ‘thrax.) Actually it seems as if all of my Halloween festivities (I dragged it out from Friday last until Wednesday) were sort of illness- or injury-inducing. I walked around Beale in perhaps the least amount of clothing I've worn in a while, barring when I'm in the shower. And it was not warm. I tried to get into the Have A Nice Day Cafe without waiting in line but was promptly shut down (they let us in about five minutes later). And I went to that big party on Stonewall last Saturday, you know, the one they have every year. Shane Battier was there, as well as everyone in Midtown between the ages of 21 and 50. Anyway, I got there pretty late (they warned us at the door they only had 4 kegs left -- out of about 30 or something ridiculous like that -- and that we should head straight to the beer) and the dance platform was looking a little worse for the wear. One spot in particular seemed a little weak; every time I dipped, it actually felt like I might dip all the way through. Not to mention the fact that I found the food truck as they were making everyone leave and go to Raiford's. It had been mostly picked over by then and the only thing left was a large platter of crab meat (it might have been imitation, I don't know). I looked at it and thought, This might have needed to be refrigerated. Oh, well. Then I popped a couple of pieces in my mouth. I was hungry. I know, incidents like that make it obvious I'm totally going out like that sad Mama Cass joke. I'm going to be crashing someone's private party buffet at the Hard Rock Cafe and choke on a chicken finger or something. I guess it could happen at any time, so I might as well party like it's the end of the world all the time. I mean, who knows, really? (I just listened to an insurance pitch, by the way.) Even something as mundane as those apple pesticides could be my downfall. That is, of course, unless the anthrax gets me first.

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