[conspire] Happy Lupercalia

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Feb 15 17:40:45 PST 2007

I wrote:

> If you'd rather celebate a less Hallmark holiday, wait until tomorrow,
> which is Lupercalia, aka Februatio, the festival of purification...

As a perhaps outre way of observing Lupercalia Eve, or Valentine's Day,
I went to Redwood City at lunchtime, to bleed.  That is, the Blood
Centers of the Pacific (a group that includes Irwin Memorial Blood
Center, Masonic and Turk, SF, where I've been donating for over a
quarter century) had telephoned and asked if I'd please bleed into a
bag, for them.

(This is, in fact, a serious matter:  The national blood supply is so
low, currently, that hospitals are having to defer operations.  If you
can, look up http://www.bloodcenters.org/ or your local centre.)

Before you're allowed to bleed, there's The Questionnaire -- the long
list of well-intended but sometimes poorly worded questions about your 
medical (etc.) history.

"In the past five years, have you been outside the USA and Canada?"

This is always fun.  They probably hate world travelers.

"During the last eight weeks, have you been in contact with anyone who's had
a vaccination for smallpox?"

Badly worded.  They _meant_ to ask "Has anyone you've been in contact
with during the last eight weeks had a vaccination for smallpox during
that time period?"  I checked "No" but wrote next to the question "Not a
_recent_ vaccination" -- and then inevitably had to review that with the
staff, pointing out that damned near everyone over forty has, in fact,
had a vaccination for smallpox.

My favourite, though:  "Since 1978, have you travelled to Africa?"  As
always, I checked "Yes" and wrote:  "Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, for one week
in February 1980."

The staffer was confused:  "Where's that?"

I'm now sort-of used to this reaction, but still boggle just a bit when
it happens (which is _every friggin' time_), for two reasons:

o  The Sinai Peninsula _is_ of central importance to several monotheistic 
   religions who comprise most of the USA's population, including blood
   centre staff.  (For gosh sakes, how can they _not_ know where Sinai

o  ...and the third word I wrote was "Egypt".

I was very nice, and didn't succumb to temptation.

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