Imagine being the Rodney Dangerfield of microbes, the digital world and the dictionary. Viruses get no respect, and yet they have their own day. The origin of this odd observance on the calendar is unknown, but there it is. October 3 really is Virus Appreciation Day.
Why would anyone want to appreciate human viruses? Where’s the satisfaction in celebrating something that destroys digital files? Even Miriam-Webster defines the word virus as “something that poisons the mind or soul”.
This is certainly an odd day, so perhaps it just needs a different perspective. Let’s think outside the petri dish on this one.
Consider that morning you dreaded going to work and realized you had a fever. You called in legitimately sick dodging a terrible day at the office. Did you tip your hat to the power of human viruses?
Think about your friend who makes a living in the digital world eradicating evil bits of code. He can appreciate a robust computer virus and even respect it on some level.
The dictionary is very clear in its derogatory definition of the word, but the virus has its place in literature. Without the maligned microbe, there would be no Andromeda Strain. Steven King’s The Stand would be a much quicker read.
It strains the imagination to think philosophically about today’s subject. Should we acknowledge something microscopic that can affect our world in so many ways?
Evidence now points to a virus as the cause of the Black Plague. Without that Medieval nightmare, would civilization have seen the sunrise of the Renaissance?
On a purely scientific level, we can appreciate that this almost invisible piece of matter is part of the cosmic puzzle but so are black holes and the speed of light.
This day on the calendar will always receive puzzled looks, suffer a few bad jokes and generally be ignored. It’s nothing more than an interesting anomaly. Try to remember that the next time you call in sick or your computer crashes.
Until then, enjoy some old Rodney Dangerfield movies. He doesn’t have a day on the calendar, so he’ll appreciate the respect.