In the Rearview
Old Pest Grows to New Proportions

Move over West Nile virus. Stand aside avian influenza. There’s a new bug in town---Vivocontrolus micromanagementeum. It’s a dangerous sounding mouthful that's for sure and the initial sign of infection is a major pain in the rear.

What is Vivocontrolus micromanagementeum? Apparently this pest was spawned millenia ago in the petri dish of the human mind and now after centuries of cultivation it has grown to hideous if not uncontrollable proportions. Literally translated the name of this Frankensteinian bugger means “life controlled by micromanagement.”

Life controlled by micromanagement?! Why that doesn’t sound like a new or even unfamiliar bug at all. In fact, most humans--aside from a few small bands of scattered primitives---are already infected with “V. microman.” And evidence of its fanatical propensity for infestation and propagation is found in volumes of law books, insurance contracts, tax codes, and city ordinances.

But recent indicators show the problem of V. microman. is reaching areas which heretofore have been immune to the pest. And while some feel “a major pain the rear” is still the only real threat, others claim an insidious epidemic is already upon us, a plague spreading throughout the population down to the very fiber of our Constitution.

Affecting the very fiber of our Constitution?! That doesn’t sound good. Established sources in government say this is simply the radical view of a bunch of alarmists, conspiracy theorists, and just plain self-serving antagonists. In fact, experts at the National Center for Disease Control will tell you Vivocontrolus micromanagementeum isn’t even a real organism.

“That’s exactly what you’d expect to hear from a bureaucrat,” says Dr. Martin Feeci, Director of the Pikes Peak Institute of Scatological Studies. “These guys make a living off the propagation of V. microman.”

Dr. Feeci (pronounced fee-zee) points out that the deleterious effects of V. microman. are apparent at every level of society. “You don’t need a degree in epidemiology to see this is a problem of plague proportions,” says Feezi. “Just look at the new federal ‘Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005,' it’s a mess of rules to manage a mess of other rules. Even professional micromanagers are scoffing at it.”

But if we are numb to the effects of V. micoman. in a federal agency like the IRS, it’s because we have come to expect the problem. Like dental caries, it becomes a routine condition. So you just visit the dentist once a year to have your cavities filled. Basically, you learn to cope with a chronic disease.

However, when V. microman. finds a new area or a new host to infect the problem is harder to ignore, going far beyond “a major pain in the rear.” In such cases a sort of toxic shock may result or, worse yet, a destructive autoimmune reaction whereby the system begins to attack itself.

“In autoimmune reactions the system in the body that normally thwarts disease actually becomes part of the problem,” says Dr. Feeci. “The system fails to recognize what is healthy and what is ultimately destructive to the body. Once that happens there’s a breakdown in homeostasis and a chronic degenerative condition results.” 

A good example of V. micromans. causing such a reaction is the new statewide law in Colorado that prohibits cigarette smoking in most public buildings, namely bars and restaurants. The new law has divided the populace along new lines, whereby conservative businessmen find themselves fighting alongside freedom-loving radicals, while liberal health advocates are teaming with Republican moralists.

“This re-assortment of ideological camps could be a good thing,” reports Professor Nigel P. Rathbone, curator of the Rocky Mountain Center for the Study of Science and Social Silliness. “We here at ‘Silli-Central’ have found that social harmony may even be increased when disturbing influences such as V. microman. force people to re-examine deep ethical questions. In the case of the smoking ban, one must ask if this is ultimately a matter of public safety or personal freedom?”

While long-term consequences of the smoking ban remain to be seen, further V. microman. infestations will put public reaction and human rights questions to the test.

“Personally, I’m not a cigarette smoker myself and will benefit from the ban,” says Rathbone. “However, I do like to puff on the old pipe now and again, nudge-nudge wink-wink, so further encroachment of personal freedoms is always a concern of mine.”