mush, mush, mush all night
had to get the serum through
roar! ice! no escape!
If you are my age and your family had a television, you grew up watching Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons.
One of the goofy things about these cartoons is that they were created in the 1930’s for adults.
These cartoons were filled with references and asides written for that time and that audience that went right over my head.
One example that stands out is in, I think, the famous Fearless Freep cartoon where Yosemite Sam bangs on a door, yelling “Open that, Open that Open that door I say”.
Sam stops, breaks the 4th wall, and says to the audience, “Did you notice I didn’t say Richard?”
To this day, I have no clue to what Sam was talking about.
And NO I am not going to do the Google to find out.
In another cartoon, Daffy Duck is being chased by a dog and he hides in a freezer.
When the dog opens the freezer, Daffy jumps out wearing earmuffs, scarf and gloves and proclaims, “What a trip. What a trip! Blizzard all the way. Snow twenty feet deep, but we had to get the serum through. It was mush, mush, mush all night. Come on! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Suddenly the glacier cracks! There’s a roar! Tons of ice! No escape! Aaaagh! How’s things been with you?”
At the time I just thought it was funny but I was clueless to what it meant.
Because of the mush, mush, mush, I knew it had something to do with dog sleds but that was about it.
Years later, I got older (didn’t grow up), I kept watching cartoons and every once in a while this one was on and through historical awareness osmosis, I became aware that this was a reference to what wikipedia calls, “the most famous event in the history of Alaskan mushing is the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the ‘Great Race of Mercy'”
Again from wikipedia, “It occurred when a large diphtheria epidemic threatened Nome. Because Nome’s supply of antitoxin had expired, Dr. Curtis Welch refused to use it and instead sent out telegrams seeking a fresh supply of antitoxin. The nearest antitoxin was found to be in Anchorage, nearly one thousand miles away. To get the antitoxin to Nome, sled dogs had to be used for part of the journey, as planes could not be used and ships would be too slow.”
Focus on that line, “It occurred when a large diphtheria epidemic threatened Nome.”
Focus on that word, “diphtheria.”
It, much like Darth Vador for Darth Vador (back when Darth was his first name), diphtheria is a perfect name for a dread disease.
It is not heard much anymore.
Due to vaccines, diphtheria isn’t the threat it used to be.
I must have been vaccinated against it.
It got me wondering what other dread diseases was I protected from so I looked it up.
According to the CDC, Americans my age have been, since childhood, protected against things like:
Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae, Pneumococcal conjugates, Polio, Influenza (IIV), Influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, Varicella m, Hepatitis A, Meningococcal, Meningococcal B, Pneumococcal polysaccharides.
I am not a Doctor so who knows what this list means or includes, but the point is, I was protected from these things.
The list of illnesses reads like a list of battles from the United States Civil War.
Manassas I and II, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Appomattox.
Battles fought with winners and losers.
Diphtheria, tetanus, polio, Influenza, measles, mumps, rubella.
Battles fought and me being the derivative winner.
These were awful things.
Awful illnesses with real and really awful results.
And I never worried about them.
And truly, I was aware of, maybe, but never really thought about it.
I just enjoyed the win.
I was protected.
No mush, mush, mush, all the way.
No tons of ice.
Suddenly, there is a roar.
Vaccines and not in, are not cool and maybe some part of a plot.
Mush, mush mush.
How thing’s been with us?
Daffy is a great word to start with.