I’d be lying if I didn’t tell y’all I’m starting to get a little pissy about the existence of “wet markets” selling freshly killed bats despite their proven link to deadly pandemics. Yeah, I know. Maybe it was just poison bat dust that drifted out the window of China’s CDC which, fun fact, is just a football field away from the Wuhan wet market. (Motto: “Come for the freshly slaughtered baby armadillo; stay for the dysentery and high fevers…”)
To be fair, there’s a chance Covid-19 came not from a bad bat lunch but rather from the sloppiness of a CDC lab worker (let’s call her “Carole Baskin”) who didn’t close a vial or wash her lab coat properly.
Look, I’ve eaten questionable things before. Most anybody with an elderly relative in the American South has spent the night on the cold tile floor of the bathroom after eating a “Flashdance”-era ham Meemaw produced from the freezer in the garage. Didn’t the power go out for a few days with the past few hurricanes? Maybe. What’s your point?
You take a few polite bites of a highly questionable ham so you won’t hurt Meemaw’s feelings. So, sure, I get that we take risks sometimes with our food options.
Here’s the difference. That super sketchy Meemaw ham will only kill YOU, not half the planet. On the other hand, if someone offers to slay a bat before your very eyes in an open-air market, is it that hard to channel your good common sense and say: “No, thanks. I wouldn’t want to eat something that could eventually force the cancellation of some spoiled American’s long-anticipated Billy Joel concert.”
And, yes, I know how tiny a missed concert is in the scheme of things. Hardly worth mentioning. It’s just that Billy Joel speaks to those of us of a certain age and we need to see him before he has a heart attack-yack-yack-yack in the arms of whatever 25- year- old he’s canoodling with at the time.
Until this pandemic, I had never heard the term wet market and now I can’t unhear it. I asked Siri to define it and she vomited a little in her mouth. At least that’s what it sounded like.
Assuming it was a bad bat, eaten by what must surely have been The World’s Hungriest Human, then I have to go all in with the Humane Society International and call for the immediate closing of all wet markets selling live bats, snakes, bamboo rats and civet cats for slaughter. (Some wet markets don’t traffic in anything more harmful than pretty flowers and handmade candies it should be noted.)
Carefully shutting down the source of a pandemic seems logical, right? What’s completely illogical is violence against Asian Americans and their families. I can’t even wrap my brain around that much stupid. The guy who fried your Crab Rangoon doesn’t want you to die. No more than Meemaw does.
Celia Rivenbark is thankful for farmers, truckers and the brave and cheerful staff at the grocery store.