Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pox Parties

I have recently become aware of a new trend in parenting. It is called a “pox party” and is a cross between a birthday party and a CDC heat map. The idea is that when a local child is diagnosed with the chicken pox, the infected child’s parents will hold a gathering for his or her peers who have not yet contracted the disease. The un-infected peers are encouraged to share beverages, toys, and even clothing with the stricken child in order to contract the malady and thus develop immunity.

Signs of a good time
With a growing fear of vaccines and their side effects, many parents are opting for a good old-fashioned home-grown epidemic instead of a trip to the pediatrician for the vaccine. These parents also insist that since the chicken pox vaccine is not 100% effective, the only surefire method of your child developing immunity is through direct contraction from another person. Most pediatricians strongly disagree and insist that infection parties are unnecessary and dangerous.

While I do not wish to wade into the tumultuous waters of vaccination side effects, the “pox party” did peak my interest for entrepreneurial reasons. Do parents have to pay to come to these parties? Is it by invitation only? Is there a limited number of seats? I may be on the brink of a bacterial goldmine. All I need is a child with an underdeveloped immune system and some clever marketing.

With all of the concerns about childhood vaccination, little Brian Jr. could bring in customers by the truckload. Every six months we could give the little tike a different disease, measles, mumps, polio, scarlet fever, whooping cough and even Polish influenza. The kid’s childhood will be ravaged by so much illness it will read like a Little House on the Prairie book. On the plus side, he will have the immune system of a 16thcentury conquistador and we will let him pick out a new Xbox game every time he is released from the ICU.    

I have also begun designing a series of “Get Worse” greeting cards that will double as invitations to our “pandemic parties.” One card features a healthy looking five-year old girl on a playground being offered a cigarette by a giant syringe and the caption reads “Make sure little Suzie gets hepatitis the way God intended…. at a party!”

There would also be different price points for the “infectious experience.”

Economy Package – one fifteen minute play-date with communal drinking glass.
Bronze Package – play date plus thirty minutes of sandbox time (includes complimentary ringworm exposure).
Silver Package –play date, sandbox time, and exposure to one coughing fit to be induced during peak fever.    
Gold Package – all of the above plus 24/7 access to the infected child’s saliva and your choice of a used tissue or half-eaten corndog to take home as a keepsake.

Of course, there are only so many infections childhood disease kind enough to infer permanent immunity to those who contract it so I may have to resort to creating a few just to keep the revenue flowing. I will give all of them frightening names like “synaptic Armageddon fever” or “Brazilian olfactory spinalitis” and encourage parents to take action before it is too late.

Many of you may find this capitalistic approach to childhood disease callous and barbaric, but I would also start a non-profit organization for grade school kids whose parents are not financially able to provide cutting-edge epidemic exposure. It breaks my heart to think of little Sarah crying herself to sleep because she wasn’t invited to the “Yellow fever pool party” so every week I would pick a different child and with my weaponized offspring in tow we would spend the afternoon touching their home’s non-porous surfaces.

1 comment:

  1. As the second of 7, we were first in line w/the childhood germs. It never failed - Mom would load the others (except a newborn)into her bed and make us lay in the middle. She said she wasn't going through this one at a time, lets get it over with! I used to think she was nuts but then I had a couple and wound up with a couple more. One at a time was not the way to deal with these things. Think about it. From start to finish one load of say... chicken pox, lasts around two weeks. Could you imagine two weeks timed 5??? How many months is that? Nothing except itchy crying whining kids??? No way...lets get it over with!!

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