Atlanta, GA – Over the past two years, terms like “epidemic” and “public health” are dominating headlines, sometimes more than mundane things like “politics”, “war” and more important things, like “sports scores.” Sometimes left in the backwater of public thought, health emergencies and oddities are now finding themselves at the forefront of front-line/headline news.
Thus, those entities that deal with major issues related to health, especially epidemics and outbreaks, find themselves at the center of attention. Such is the case with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. Their facilities within the Atlanta urban/suburban area (which, with the way that city continues to grow, will soon encompass the entire northern half of the state of Georgia, which may make the city of Atlanta one of the most virulent outbreaks out there, but we digress) are filled with the top scientific and medial minds researching some of the most unusual and virulent outbreaks known to man.
Among the many teams within the secure facilities, there is one that is current focusing in on a particular situation. This one is currently a localized outbreak emerging from the American South, particularly in the city of Houston, Texas. “The [Easterby-ist] thing we’ve seen in some time,” noted one researcher. “Look, I am mostly a behaviorist, studying human behavior and things like that. Yet what we are seeing coming out of Houston is proving a bit surprising, even for us.”
“Oh, you’re talking about that flu bug thing that forced the team to cancel practice this past week, right?” inquired our new beat reporter.
“What? That? Oh no. No, that is just a run-of-the-mill virus-type thingy. No, they don’t call us in for that. No, we are observing something else. Something very, very peculiar.
When asked what specifically he is observing, the researcher wasted no time in coming back with the response: “Why, a significant uptick in localized Hurt Feelings Reports, or HFRs.”
“HFRs??? I didn’t think those things still existed?” our stunned correspondent noted.
“You would think, but trust us, there are still plenty of hurt feelings reports to go around. We will sooner end a viral epidemic than we will see the complete eradication of hurt feelings reports,” the researcher retorted.
“Normally, we see a number of hurt feelings reports generated this time of year. A lot of sporting events, and thus, a lot of fragile egos and psyches out there. A team loses a game, and the players/fanbases/cities go all into the tank, sobbing about their wrecked pitiful lives. I believed many of our researchers saw a spike in those numbers in the early part of November from Houston.”
Then in a smirking whisper to our correspondent, “Confidentially, we were amused by those, being where we are based and all.”
Just as quickly switching to more authoritative tone, the scientist continued, “What we are seeing out of Houston the last few days is really out of the ordinary. Especially from the city’s pro football team. When a team is 2-9 and coming off a 4-12 season, with the painful offseason it had, we don’t usually see a lot of HFRs. Typically, in this case, we normally see a lot of ambivalence. Instead, we are seeing a rather large uptick in such reports.”
“Strangely enough, the reports are not coming from the fan base, much like we saw in the beginning of November. In fact, as best our analyst can tell, they are coming from the leadership of the Texans.”
“The team leadership?”
“I know. In all my years studying the production of HFR from a specific region, the primary generator of those reports tends to come from the fans. That is usually followed by respective players. But the major uptick in Houston is coming from those individuals identified as team leaders.”
“Just this past week, we saw one from an unlikely candidate. Typically, you only see those when these type of candidates are fired or suffer a bad call during a game. This was e a unique one, whereby the coach, er, candidate, was questioned intensely by one of his players. Apparently, the questions crossed a line, as indicated here.”
NARRATIVE: Well, this one player, who is kinda, sorta good. Anyway, I am talking about the plan for this week, ways to do things, and this player has the nerve to contradict me, the [REDACTED]. I know what I am doing. I bring 40+ years or so of experience…and I have been a [REDACTED] longer than he has…and this player questions me???
I was so mad…my authority was questioned. You can’t question my authority! I am supposed to have all the authority! I [Easterby] run this team. Me! The [REDACTED]!!!! You can’t make me look stupid!!! So that player had to miss the game. I think I got my point across.
but it still hurt my feelings and I had a sad. I drowned my feelings in some nachos grande watching “The Exorcist” on repeat...
“Then, just the other day, our staff received this one:”
NARRATIVE: Everyone is being mean to my goodest friend!!! It ain’t fair. Mr. [REDACTED] is trying the bestest he can, and I think he is doing a wonderfulist job!!! He is revamping (I used a big word!!!) the team, helping to determine the correct priority for this organization (see, another bigly word!). The culture is great! We are bringing in hundreds of people, and all of that other stuff. He is even helping me whip those punks from that Sweeny pre-school at Minecraft. Can we tell people to stop being so mean to Mr. [REDACTED]?
“Yeah, that was kinda strange. This individual is like an exec or something…well, I can’t confirm details due to that confidentiality thing, but we haven’t seen a series of HFRs like this…really, ever. One of my mentors did recall a situation between a couple of coaches in the early 1990s from that part of the world, but not like this…”
When asked about ramifications and the potential for this to spread, the researcher scoffed. “In my professional opinion, this is hardly something that will spread beyond the confines of Houston, or really, that small slice of the city. If anything, it might trigger an outbreak of laughing fits of hysteria when other teams and their respective fans read what the team’s Public Relations/Media forums put out as team ‘news’.”
Whether or not the assessments of the CDC come to pass in this situation, or if we find ourselves in possession of even more inane HFRs, we at Totally Not Fake News will continue to report all of the news that is fit to print. Even if it is not fit to print, we’ll print it anyway.