You really have to hand it to the pharmaceutical companies.  They sure know how to arrange a never-lose situation.  Whether it’s an impending influenza pandemic which requires worldwide vaccinations and yet fails to materialize, or all those anti-depressant pills offered to alleviate what is otherwise known as life, they seem to excel at created just the right atmosphere of fear, I’ll go as far as to call it atmosfear, yes my first fully-coined word.  Wrong.  Just checked it out.  Not only was there a series by that name, but a jazz band too.  Not that surprising, when you come to think of it.  I didn’t require that much cleverness.  Still, I hate the internet sometimes.  It takes the fun out of anyone’s creativity.

Atmosfear, though, is my word for the day, regardless.  Sounds like a good description for Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine thesis. Making money based on fear, on the penetration of fear, on the hopes of instilling an environment based on fear.

Never is this better understood than with the coming of each spring and with it, the arrival of new allergy season, and annual report on the pollination forecast and just how it will affect our future.  This one bodes to be a rough one for our defenseless noses, eyes and throats; but then again, so does every year.  They sound like economists with a hangover.

It would appear that it all comes down to the rainfall index.  Basically there are three scenarios:

1)    It has rained a lot and the dampness has pumped the local vegetation with so much water that the plants and trees are just bursting with all that pollen vermin necessary to make you and your senses as miserable as can be.  I don’t think this is the case this year.  Remedy:  dope up.

2)    It hasn’t rained enough, so the pollution and the lack of fresh clean air are going to make everything so stagnate that the pollen is going to just hang around for ages and, once again, turn our lives into tissue-dependent existences.  That seemed likely to be the case this year.  Remedy: dope up.

3)    A normal year with normal precipitation and normal…germination.  Result…plenty of pollen floating around.  Secondary result.  Plenty of mucus drops fired from sneezing noses.  Remedy: dope up all the same.

You see, there really isn’t a situation where life could be any easier.  And if there is, you can bet your box of Kleenex that the companies that manufacture the antihistamines aren’t going to help out much there.  Plus, it’s going to go away no matter what the weather is like, because the climate is not the problem.

         The problem is this:


It’s called an Arizona Cypress, and it should be wearing a jail number.  Arizona cypresses are extremely well adapted to the dry Madrid meteorological characteristics and, here’s the worst part, are tough a shit to kill.  You basically have to chop one into a billion bits a burn it as firewood.  Its resilience and low maintenance has made it a favorite for the new parks and building complexes in this city over the past decade.   I do not have the figures on hand, but the number must run into the billions, at the very least.   I’m inclined to believe that there is a nursery out in the backyard of those pharmaceutical multinationals.  Then they spread the seed all over the land and reap the benefits years later.  That’s complete b.s., but I like starting rumors like that.  I’m sure some lazy reader is going to fall for it.

         What is clear is that someone certainly faltered when it came to foreseeing the possible harmful side effects of such carefree planting.  Now half the city can’t breathe.  And when they can, it’s to say how bad things are going to be this year according to the official report.  Then they erupt with a thunderous sneeze that rocks the foundations of the building.  God bless them.

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