Linn-Benton Backwash: OSU Norovirus Prologue

aj9azhqkhrp9c5sjmk0dIt was a sunny Oregon morning, 19 minutes shy of 11 a.m. The birds were chirping, the yuppie-hippy hybrids were picking up their dog droppings with disposable gloves after driving two miles from home to let them take a dump. Sublime’s Summertime was bumping pleasantly from the speakers at Roxy Dawgs. Nearby, you could hear the pitter-patter of student footsteps and the accompanying skids from cars having to slam on their brakes as the pedestrians wandered out into the streets, paying attention only to the jams emanating from their Beats by Dre headphones. Yes, spring term at Oregon State University was well on its way, man-buns aplenty (seriously guys, we see right through you). But something was not at all right…


A tricked-out Maserati, body kit flapping in the wind, abruptly halts along Campus Way; the engine purrs deeply, like a panther in heat. Suddenly, FHWOOOSH! The door flies open and the driver hurtles forward. A stream of what appears to be molten lasagna (with pineapple-y chunks) fires like a naval railgun, crossing the sidewalk and another four feet of grass before landing with a greasy splat. Before onlookers could even muster a horrified response, windows were desperately flung open on the second, third, and fourth floors of a nearby building. And… I’m so deeply sorry to have to tell you this, but diarrhea flew out of each of them, as ill-stricken butts had positioned themselves and fired. One errant stream took out an unlucky bird, while the rest landed in the road—the resulting slick causing a four-bicycle and one-parking enforcement golf cart pileup.

Ground zero, my friends. While the poor bastards in the immediate area began testing out psychological coping mechanisms, a nigh invisible cloud of bacterial funk and perfume rose and was carried all over campus by a nice spring breeze. Into open doorways, up and down stairs, onto nachos and into backpacks. If you listened closely, over the cries of freshmen and the idiotic banter of touring high school kids, you could hear angels weep. The norovirus outbreak had begun. Within a fortnight, all of campus would be fertilized with futile meals that just wouldn’t lend themselves to be transformed into nourishment within such sick bodies. It would be the end of life as we knew it. But how did we get here, 88-plus brave souls burning their candles at both ends (at the same time) like there was no tomorrow?

Nobody knows. But I’m not ruling out Chipotle.

By Johnny Beaver