Monday, May 31, 2010

Sick Days

By Pat Cuynningham

Having just spent a week battling bronchitis and coughing liquid out of my lungs every 15 seconds, I got to wondering about what diseases might affect our shifters. Are they immune or susceptible to human maladies like cancer and STDS? Do their youngsters get distemper as a childhood disease instead of the mumps? Do they visit a doctor or a vet, or have they developed their own specialized healer caste?

This idea can go both ways. The comedy possibilities are endless. Of course shifters are vulnerable to the common cold. EVERYONE is vulnerable to the common cold. There’s nothing worse than a mighty lion or sleek virile tiger with a drippy nose. And where do you keep a hanky? Jaguars become stricken with “leopard pox” which causes rosettes to appear on their human skin. Or a virus disrupts the shifting process, causing a shapechange to stop at the halfway point, or leaving the human form with fuzzy ears, a tail, and fur in embarrassing places. Picture a tough alpha wolf who shifts into something that looks more like a poodle. Or a literal “swine flu” which makes people randomly and involuntarily shapeshift into pigs. Try explaining those symptoms on your insurance form.

For the serious suspense writer we have the desperate alpha leader whose clan is dying of a shifter pandemic, who kidnaps the lovely research scientist and now must a) convince her shapeshifters actually exist and b) persuade her to help them. Or some wacko creates a pathogen specifically designed to eradicate shifters, who are seen as abominations against God. Or maybe the wacko wants to turn all people into shapeshifters because he thinks they’re neat. If you could turn yourself into a sultry tigress, would you even want to be cured?

I don’t know yet where shifters stand on national health care reform. Maybe some tiger’s a state rep or something. Right now I need to go out and buy more juice and Nyquil. Stay healthy.


Savanna Kougar said...

Intriguing questions with a myriad of plot possibilities.

I have seen werewolf/shifter stories around the idea of the pretty doctor saving them from some horrific malady.

Of course, any of my shifters will chase, or do something worse... claw them, jaw on them...kick them were it counts, bite their heads off, if anyone demands they purchase health insurance. And, no one dares ration health care in their communities. Death panels, forget about it... they're the ones who will be pushing up daisies.

Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, did you get my email? about what to take?

Serena Shay said...

Hmmm, good question, Pat. My shifters don't pick up human diseases, but they do have a pride doc...of course he's more like a Dr. Feelgood type who sets broken bones and supplies the really good cat

Feel better and drink lots of fluids. :)

Pat C. said...

In the Teen Titans cartoon Beast Boy caught a cold and every time he sneezed he turned into a different animal. That works fine in visual media but a similar idea would have to be modified for prose. It's still funny, though.

Coughing all night isn't. Off to the drugstore!

Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, that is funny and would work great in a certain type of scene or story!