by Leslie Morgan Steiner
Swine flu. It’s on NPR  in my car. The local news every night. The front page of The Washington Post  and the New York Times . Even my Facebook wall!
Not the flu itself. I mean stories about swine flu. How to avoid getting it. When to quarantine your household. When to rush to the hospital. HOW WHERE WHEN the vaccine is available. The thousands who were vaccinated today! The millions who went home disappointed! The people who lie about pregnancy or underlying illness to pilfer the vaccine !
I feel like the only mom in America who actually WANTS to get swine flu.
Now let me stress – before you wipe your holier-than-thou nostrils and throw snotty tissues at me – that I do not advocate intentional exposure to the virus. I’m in a unique position. I have no underlying conditions. I am not pregnant (oh yeah!). I am healthy (physically at least; mentally is another story). My kids are robust dynamos ages 7 to 12 with no risk factors either. We rank just below “nowhere” on the nation’s priority list for vaccinations. However, I do have two relatives battling cancer and undergoing chemo and radiation, who are legitimately terrified of getting swine flu because, um, it would probably kill them. I would never belittle anyone’s fears about illness and my heart goes out to every family who has lost a loved one to this awful virus.
But I want it. Now. Now is a good time. I don’t have any deadlines looming, presentations due, or business travel planned. Both my husband and babysitter are A) in town and B) healthy themselves.
So can we just get swine flu now and get it over with?
Because otherwise I know what will happen.
My husband will be on a business trip to the North Pole. All current and former babysitters will have final exams or great-grandparent funerals to attend. The entire Steiner family will get swined between November 5 and December 8, and I will have to renege on a series of speaking events and consulting commitments that have been on my calendar for the past six months and that account for 30% of my annual income. Neither I nor any of my kids will die, which is naturally good news. My career will not end. My marriage will survive. But there is always the possibility that Oprah will call and Barbara Walters will finally invite me to co-host The View. Because of piggie flu, I will have hidden my cell phone under six pillows.
The bedrock of being a good mom while simultaneously meeting work obligations lies in careful forecasting and plotting to steer clear of unnecessary drama, conflicts and suffering.
If I could get swine flu today, I could make it all happen.