It’s “flu season” and as an independent contractor who doesn’t get paid for sick days, I dread it. Unfortunately for me this year I managed to catch it, costing me a week of downtime and associated medical bills. Having somewhat recovered, I decided to play the victim and seek damages for my pain and suffering only to find, after much research, that the academics tell me I would have to try to seek damages from Egypt and the countries of Asia Minor where influenza probably originated about 3,000 years ago.
I also discovered that if I wanted to point fingers and seek damages that my ancestors or I may be due for suffering from malaria or the Plague, (which killed 60 percent of the European population in the 1400s), I would need to take on the Chinese government, as both of those diseases originated there thousands of years ago.
Smallpox, a disease introduced to the Native Americans by the Europeans, actually killed millions of Europeans after its introduction into Europe from India and Egypt some 3,000 years ago, so anyone with a history of smallpox in the family should bypass Europe and go after India for the damages.
Admittedly, Europeans introduced typhus and diphtheria to the world but that was probably in exchange for the introduction of syphilis into Europe from North America, killing millions, around 1,500 many scholars say. That was around the time the Native Americans introduced the use of tobacco to the rest of the world, which has resulted in millions of cancer deaths.
We have also had millions of people suffer and die from yellow fever, introduced to the world from sub-Sahara Africa in the 1500s. And, while I’ve heard that Ronald Reagan was responsible for HIV, it actually originated in the central African country of Cameroon, which probably has no money to pay out for the pain and suffering around the world caused by that disease.
The list does go on, but it dawned on me that maybe we would all be better off realizing how stupid it is seeking damages and trying to get rich from the stuff all of our ancestors inflicted on the world in the past. Perhaps we would all be better off focusing on what we can do in the here and now to avoid passing on pain and suffering to our children and their descendants.
And that’s the long view.
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