There are certain things in life that are so ironic, they make me wonder if there really is such a thing as coincidence, or if there is an old man in the sky, with a huge finger, who waits for the right time to give himself a chuckle, while messing with my life.
And then I think, “No…it’s all in your mind. The mind is a powerful tool as it relates to psychosomatic illness, and this itchy throat and runny nose CAN’T have anything to do with getting the Osaka Flu in TSTO.”
And then I sneeze…covering my computer screen and keyboard with millions, if not billions of tiny germ globules, that has me feverishly (wait…does my head feel warm?) reaching for the disinfectant spray and Purell.
The flu is like that. Marge found out the hard way…and ended up doing hard time because of it. Me? I just became obsessed with trying to figure out the answer to “why we get the flu?” and if there is any real reward in “curing” our characters who are infected in TSTO.
The answers may make you feel a bit queasy…
Let’s start with the fact that the origins of the Flu are pretty sketchy at best, as it pertains to mankind’s development and dispersal throughout the world.
While it makes sense to think that early man (and women and children, to be inclusive) most likely suffered from something resembling the flu, it seems that the version that makes us miserable (and Big Pharm wealthy in “remedies” each year) actually didn’t find its way into our systems until we had migrated and evolved throughout the Asian countries…and got bored.
I’ll come back to this in a minute…but yes…I think I can safely say that pet-lovers and some distant version of the ASPCA are responsible for the modern version of the flu. Shocking…but, not surprising.
As it pertains to the Simpsons and TSTO, as is per usual with most of what shows up in the game, the “Osaka Flu” had a very brief appearance in an episode, which actually centered on Marge going to jail, and the ramifications thereof.
In a quick synopsis of the episode, “Marge in Chains” (S4E21), the Osaka Flu starts the episode rolling when a factory worker on an assembly line assembling the “Juice Loosener,” (a juicer sold on a shopping show, and invented by Dr. Nick), sneezes into the box headed for Homer. Homer and the rest of the family (and town) get “the Osaka Flu” and Marge, overworked and stressed by trying to take care of everyone, gets arrested for shoplifting when she forgets to pay for something at the grocery store. While jailed, the town devolves into chaos.
But, WHERE DOES THE OSAKA FLU REALLY COME FROM????? And why is it in our game????
Remember…I do the research, so you don’t have to. And if you are reading this on the Internet, then you know it MUST be true. So…buckle in, put a sneeze guard on your padular device, and make sure to wash your hands regularly.
TRUE FACT: I came down with a version of influenza on the very day that I got OSAKA FLU in TSTO. So…you can see why I have more than a passing interest in all of this.
The Basics: Google says- Influenza (see where the flu term comes from?) is a virus that’s spread from person to person. It originates, actually, among birds and other animals such as pigs, and new viral strains of influenza come to this country and to Europe from Southeast Asia.
OK. Pretty basic. Even for Google.
Here is a link to the WIKI explanation…but, frankly, reading it made my eyes start to water, and my throat scratchy:
The flu is nothing to sneeze at…well, actually…I guess in theory, you can sneeze at it once you have it. But, the most viral forms, (A virus of three, including B and C) are H2N2, which caused Asian Flu in 1957, H3N2, which caused Hong Kong Flu in 1968.
Lethal pandemics are rare, although they pop up throughout history, with the severity of flu symptoms being fatal to MILLIONS of people. Written history of pandemics go back as far as ancient Greece, (Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, first described influenza in 412 BC.), but modern pandemics in 1889 (Russian flu), 1918 (the Spanish flu), 1958 (The Asian Flu), and 1969 (Hong Kong Flu), prove that origins are sketchy, but can spread worldwide in as little time as it takes to open a box with sneeze-germs from a foreign country.
But, the REAL CULPRIT HERE isn’t people (nothing bad that happens in the world is ever our fault…right?), but domesticated animals!! Birds (chickens and ducks in most cases), and pigs, (aka swine) are the most prevalent, but have also been spread by other animals, including horses, dogs, cats, and even ferrets.
See a trend here?
I strongly suspect (and if you are reading it here on the interweb that is must be true) that mankind was just fine while it was EATING animals. It was when we started to domesticate them, and name them, and dress them up in funny clothes and let them sleep with us in the bed, and eat table scraps off of the dinner table, that this entire mess really kicked into gear!
Is it any coincidence that the ancient Greeks were also the originators of the Chicken Gyro (mmmmmm….Gyros), and needed to domesticate chickens to have enough to sell at the Gyro stands outside of the Theatre’ (where a popular Greek tragedy about the flu pandemic of 412 BC was playing)? I think not sir!!
And then, the touring company of “Oedipus Sneezes,” visits China, and while there, also introduces the Gyro (which was then morphed into “Moo Shoo Chicken” with tiny versions of the wrap closely resembling the Gyro), and BOOM!…the Flu is spread to a region of BILLIONS of people who end up becoming the manufacturing hub for the entire world.
ANOTHER COINCIDENTAL FACT: I got a new iPhone a couple of weeks ago…and the box may have been sneezed in…causing me to GET the flu, on the very day I was playing TSTO, and got the OSAKA flu!! It was made in China!! Just sayin’…
There is an irony about all of this…in that even though the flu clearly came from Greece, the Asians get blamed for really spreading it around the world. That really isn’t fair, in that Apple is an American company. But I digress.
However…to round up this episode of “Where Did THAT Come From,” I can’t help but be puzzled by the way the Osaka flu is used in TSTO.
First, Osaka is in Japan. Not China. And they don’t have Gyros, or Moo Shoo there…but they DO have sushi, which is a far healthier version of a “rolled up meal,” because it doesn’t have chicken, pig, or even horse in it. So…typical of the Simpsons, they are deflecting blame from the Greeks, and Chinese (because they need the padular devices made in China for the game), and onto the Japanese, which seems small, and cowardly. But, I digress again…
In the game…you get the flu randomly. I know. I’ve watched it float around my town, and the little germ cloud passes right over TSTO characters and even the Tourists of you are watching them.
As witnessed. Flu passes right over a tourist who clearly deserves the flu for wearing a beret and Bikenstocks, while wandering aimlessly.
But, when you log in, you will often find that one, two, three, four or even five (depending on what level you are on in the pandemic) of your tourists are infected. Or not. I really can’t tell WHEN, or HOW they are infected…but only know it doesn’t happen when I am watching the cloud (kind of like a proton in the “double slit experiment” in quantum physics). The flu just hits when you aren’t expecting it to.
Your reward is kinda random…as you get to have MORE flu victims, when you clear the French Pins your neighbors leave you. There is still no clear indication if your neighbors can get the flu from visiting your town, or if you can get it from visiting a neighbor’s town, but it certainly can’t be passed through the exchange of Gyros, as there are none in the game. That’s it. No real prizes here, folks!
What I DO know…is that my flu started the same day that I got the Osaka flu in my TSTO game…and while symptoms are only supposed to last 7-9 days, this update still has more than 25 days to go!
Holyfreakinshirt! That is a LOT of Purell!!
On a final note…as the flu in real life is passed by germs connected to sneezing and coughing, be a GOOD HUMAN BEING, and don’t just sneeze or cough into the open. It is now recommended that you sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm. I know. It’s gross.
But, is far better than spreading a gazzilion germs into the air (or an iPhone box).
Wash your hands a lot… but MOST IMPORTANT… Wash your clothes after using them for a giant Kleenex. And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT MAKE PET BEDS for your chickens, pigs, or other pets out of un-laundered clothing, or serve them scraps of your Gyro from the table!!
I hope you have found this explanation as helpful to you as I did writing it.
I have to go blow my nose now…and my shirt is in the dryer.