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Not so frequently asked questions about the swine flu

Q. What is swine flu?

A. A respiratory disease caused by a type-A influenza virus that has mutated into H1N1, and is currently terrorizing the globe. Don't you read the papers?

Q. What are these papers you speak of? Poor President Obama. Everything happens on his watch. Does he have the worst job in the world right now?

A. Perhaps a close second to Mexico's Minister of Tourism. That you wouldn't wish on the CEO of AIG.

Q. Just because of the swine flu?

A. Well, yes, and the earthquakes and the drug wars. Earlier this year, school administrators warned college kids not to spring break south of the border because of the beheadings.

Q. That's a problem for college students?

A. Nothing chills a tropical surf buzz like a beach full of headless corpses.

Q. Kids today are soft.

A. Let's move on.

Q. Can I contract the swine flu from eating pork?

A. No, you cannot get swine flu from eating pork. It's an airborne, not a food-borne disease.

Q. What about bacon?

A. No. You can't get swine flu from eating pork. Or bacon. Or pork chops. Or honey-glazed pork tenderloin. Or Corky's Memphis-style baby back ribs. Or pork lips and linoleum. Or grilled ham and gouda on sun-dried tomato focaccia. Or pickled pigs' feet.

Q. How about pork rinds?

A. (Deep sigh) Yes. You can get it from pork rinds. Stay away from those.

Q. Should I keep my children out of school?

A. Please, no. Your kids are going to need all the help they can get.

Q. Didn't we just go through this a couple years ago?

A. That was the H5N1 virus. The bird flu. This is H1N1, swine flu. Birds, swine: different.

Q. What ever happened with that whole bird flu thing?

A. Not much. A few folks got the urge to go to the bathroom standing on a statue.

Q. Shouldn't that experience have given us a head start with response to this outbreak?

A. Well, it certainly primed the panic pump.

Q. What's the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?

A. A pandemic is a bunch of little epidemics. Think bouquet and flowers.

Q. Many governors have declared a state of emergency but caution people not to be alarmed. Isn't that sending mixed messages?

A. Yes. And no.

Q. What's the best way to avoid getting the swine flu?

A. Wash your hands.

Q. What are you, my mom?

A. Can I help it if your mother was right? By the way, Mother's Day... Sunday the 10th.

Q. What about those masks I see people wearing? Can they help?

A. Can't hurt. Just take them off when you sneeze.

Q. Can I get swine flu from petting pigs on a farm?

A. No U.S. pig has been found with the disease. Who pets pigs?

Q. Can my pot-bellied pig contract the swine flu virus and give it to me?

A. No, you can't get it from domestic pigs, I just told you that. Are you listening?

Q. Why do they call it the swine flu then?

A. They don't. It is now officially SOIV.

Q. What's that?

A. Swine Originated Influenza Virus. This way, we keep from defaming our proud, American factory pig farms.

Q. Any other brilliant advice?

A. Don't drink the ice water you're cooling your Coronas in.

Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic, who writes sometimes. This is one of them.

Durst, a political comedian, has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.