This isn’t the first time Americans have been urged to roll up their sleeves and take a shot of protection against swine flu. In 1976, at the urging of the director of the CDC, the federal government set out on a controversial course to vaccinate the entire US population against the H1N1 influenza virus. In 10 weeks 45 million doses of vaccine were administered. The program was suspended after a number of cases of Guillian-Barré syndrome were discovered in people who had received the vaccine.
A mirabiliary is a collector of marvelous things. A chiffonier is a collector of scraps. A curioso is a collector of curiosities. An aggregator is a collector of particulars.
On March 25, 2008, a friend emailed me to cancel an appointment we’d made to meet in Washington, DC. “Can’t make it,” the cryptic message read, “I’m in the hospital.” “For what?” I wrote back. “I was bitten by a rattlesnake.