Monday, March 02, 2020

Reader's Diary #2140- Dino Buzzati, translated by Judith Landry: The Epidemic

Dino Buzzati's short story "The Epidemic" reads a bit like a satire. It involves a Colonel in a military office whose staff has been hit with influenza. As more and more of his staff go absent, a mistrusted secretary of another department plants the idea in the Colonel's head that the the flu virus has been engineered by government scientists to attack only those who are treasonous to the regime.When the Colonel himself starts getting sick, he pushes on, coming to work every day lest he be perceived a traitor.

It's preposterous of course that a virus could tell who's loyal or not, but I did find myself thinking that it's not entirely impossible that people would be stupid enough to believe it. After all, some believe that certain diseases are sent by God as punishment for sinning, it's not such a far stretch. It also speaks loudly about those a-holes who come to work knowing that they're sick, "proving" that they're dedicated to their work but putting everyone else at risk.

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