A Prayer to the Plague-Gods 

Last weekend was definitely the wrong time for me to hang out in America's sweaty pant-band--that is, the Bible belt. I was down in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference--where, before I commence to hand-wringing, I must shit-yeah-ingly note that BW's own cartoonish export to the universe, E.J. Pettinger, beat out Tom Tomorrow and a host of other scribblers to win cartoon of the year for Mild Abandon. But back to whining: The temperature down there in the kiddie pool next to the Deep South is, for lack of a better term, festerlicious. 10 times each day, rain surges from the sky in terrifying 10-minute bursts, but the overall temperature never sinks below 129 degrees. Rain, fester, rain, fester ... ugh! The houses stunk, my clothes stunk, and the stinkbugs--you'd better believe they were a-fixing to stink! By Sunday afternoon, I was so flustered by Dixie meteorology, you could have knocked me over in my seersucker suit with a mockingbird feather. I sway-er!

Normally, none of this would bother me, but right now, I happen to be reading The Plague by Albert Camus. As any lit-prof will promptly proffer, all the buboes and rat carcasses that hold the town in the book hostage are on some level supposed to be representative of all forms of exile and occupation--and on a slightly more symbolic level, of the German occupation of Paris during World War II. But don't try that college-boy logic on me. The Plague, from my perspective, is about germs and death. On a slightly more symbolic level, it's about the potentially fatal filthiness of any location that isn't my bed (but now that I mention it, my bed is nothing to unleash a nasally transmitted contagion at either. Remind me to give Leo the stuffed lion a bleach bath.).

But enough about the bugs in my boudoir. Remember back when BW had its own online message board? Yeah? Well, good for you. Tell somebody who gives a rat's ass--like the cheerful blokes on our new message board! It may be just a collection of ones and zeros, but this version of BW Forum has a whole heaping heap of non-plague-carrying rat asses to give, if you only allow it the chance to infect your fancy. Starting this Wednesday (that means right now!), BW Forum will once again be open for business at www.boiseweekly.com/forum/. I'll even kick off the festivities with a thread of my very own:

Title: What's the best way to stave off death in Boise?

Heck: Step One: Wash your heinie.

Heck: Someone in the office swears that I'm misspelling "heinie." So, while you're sudsing up your "ie," don't forget to scrub under your "y."

Heck: Step Two: If you see any fleas with wet, hacking coughs on the sidewalk, run the little bastards down with your bike.

--Nicholas Collias

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