Mild conjunctivitis or Pink Eye is usually nothing to worry about. Most people who come down with the illness are given an antibiotic and told to not socialize for a few days until their infection is no longer contagious. Despite the seemingly harmless nature of this affliction, there are some circumstances in which coming down with such a common ailment might just prove deadly.
Take the following hypothetical example:
You are visiting the Transylvania region of Romania and have decided that your premiere tourist objective is to tour the places of interest related to the reign of Vlad The Impaler, the inspiration behind Count Dracula, Count Chocula and Sesame Street‘s The Count. The first point of interest you go to is Bran Castle, a temporary residence of Prince Vlad nestled deep in the Carpathian Mountains.
As you wander through the vast expanse fit for vacationing royalty, you encounter several workers in charge of policing the inside activity. Making sure no one has any contagious affliction has not crossed your mind due to the fact most people in America, (where you’re from potentially) when they get even the slightest ailment, refrain from entering the workplace. However, within the ranks of Castle employees there has been a recent outbreak of the infection commonly known as Pink Eye and none of them have even thought to avoid work that day. Instead they have spent the entire day within the confines of the castle spreading their germs into the air via a few odd sneezes.
You have no way of detecting said germs and continue your trip through the Castle unfettered by potential sickness. It takes a few hours after the visit for your symptoms to become visible and though you’ve yet to notice them, the teenagers in the guest house which you are staying have certainly made note of the zombie like quality in your right eye.
There have long been tall tales told of horrific transformations that visitors to the historic site undergo once passing through the gates. It doesn’t help matters that there have been a few gruesome maulings in the nearby woods that authorities suspect have been carried out by hungry wolves, but which more imaginative folks have attributed to vampires, werewolves, or even worse, zombies.
Seeing as you fit the description of the latter, the teenagers with an overactive imagination decide that it’s time to take action to protect themselves and the brains of their family. While you sleep soundly on your cot they sneak in in the middle of the night and quietly place a stake over your heart before driving it in with resounding force and a loud metallic ping sound. Sure they’ve confused the way you’re supposed to kill a zombie with the way you kill a vampire, but since they’re from the land of Dracula, that’s what they’re used to doing. Either way, you’ve been killed simply for having a case of mild conjunctivitis.
Most Scandinavians are peaceful peoples as evidenced by their penchant for neutrality during times of war. The majority are deemed to be honest, trustworthy, and rather pleasant to the point where you just want to be their friend. Surely, this is an admirable quality in any people. However, it’s this ability to cause new acquaintances to put their guard down and welcome them into their good graces with open arms that may present a clear and present danger, especially to those travelling abroad with little to no accompaniment.
Consider this hypothetical situation:
You have come to have a relaxing vacation in the most sedate of Southeastern Asian nations, the land of Laos. It is the early evening, and having just arrived in the city of Vientiane, you decide that it is entirely too late for sightseeing as you are tired from your day of travel. Instead you ask your Guesthouse manager to recommend a local watering hole in the area where you might experience an authentic Laotian nightlife atmosphere. He directs you to a bar but a few blocks from your accommodations and suggests that you try the “lao-lao” or rice whiskey, once you get to bar.
After a ten-minute walk you finally spot the authentic Laotian drinking establishment. You feel slightly hesitant, but decide on adventure over inertia. Upon entry you find it mostly calm, but notice very few warm, welcoming visages. No one is leering at you, they’re just immersed in their own merrymaking. Out of a sea of tanned skin and dark hair, you spot a swath of pale accompanied by a blond mop of hair seated at the bar reading a newspaper. There is a seat beside this person and you decide that this is your best chance at friendly conversation for the night, so you plop yourself down at the bar stool and order a lao-lao from the barkeep.
The ears on the man next to you perk up. He hears a voice that is obviously not that of a local. He looks over and biting his lip ever so slightly extends a hand to introduce himself. His name is Anders Sven Jarlsberg from Sweden. If you had read the news at all in the last five years you might know that Anders Sven Jarlsberg is a suspected serial killer who had butchered thirty-eight people in his native land simply for the fact that they had brown hair and had escaped the long arm of the law eight months ago by hopping a plane to an undetermined Southeast Asian nation.
Your new friend has come to Laos in the hopes of no longer giving into his darkest urges. The people here- with their darker skin and black hair- do little to awaken his bloodlust, but your white skin and brunette features have awakened the hunter within. To you, Anders is proving quite the affable gentleman. He’s certainly adept at making small talk and just seems like another in the line of well-intentioned Scandinavian fellows that you’ve run across in your travels. In an act of “good faith” between “fellow travelers” he buys you two more rounds of lao-lao, which is known to get people absolutely hammered rather quickly.
At the end of the evening, having had a few too many, Anders offers to let you crash at “his friends apartment.” You take him up on the offer and off you go. When you arrive at his apartment Anders helps you to the couch. In a moment of relaxation your eyes close, giving Anders enough time to retreat to the pantry for the his axe and start swinging it at your head. Your eyes open to the horrific sight of imminent death, but your drunken state allows for a reaction that is a little too delayed. You have been killed by a general faith in the benevolence of Scandinavians in Laos.
It is said that learning about history is essential for us to allow that it should never repeat itself, that is unless it of course said historical events wielded positive results such as life, liberty, sliced bread, and the remote control.
While the Stamp Act of 1765 may have played a minute role in the creation of the former examples, it most certainly had an even larger part in bringing about massive amounts of death and destruction. As Great Britain’s first direct attempt to levy a tax on it’s American colonies, this legislation would end up snowballing into massive amounts of anger directed at the British occupants at the hands of the colonists all in the name of “taxation without representation.” The buildup of this ire, ten years later, would result in revolution. The American Revolutionary War resulted in the death of thousands of soldiers for both the Colonists and the Redcoats. It is believed that perhaps without the Stamp Act of 1765 their lives may have been spared.
Although the Stamp Act of 1765 was signed more than 340 years ago and the war fought because of it has been over for quite some time, it still yields the potential to prove deadly to those within the borders of the United States. This hypothetical situation will illustrate just how such a thing is possible:
You are a Revolutionary War enthusiast. Every year you pick a new re-enactment to participate in. This spring you decide that you shall be partaking in the re-living of the Battle of Petersburg in Virginia. Having been assigned to be amongst the 2,300 victorious British soldiers fighting under Benedict Arnold and William Phillips, you figure that there’s little chance you’ll wind up amongst the 70 taken wounded or dead on their side. Excited to be apart of history, you don your Redcoat and march out to the field of battle, 2,300 men strong versus a meek fighting force of one thousand Patriots.
As you approach the country side you see the Patriots’ plucky first line of defense and set about loading your musket. However, those cocky colonists are ready for your approach, more ready than you think. The officer directly across from you has his musket loaded. Unbeknownst to him it is loaded with an actual Revolutionary War era bullet instead of a blank. Someone at the historical society did a lousy job inspecting the weaponry and unfortunately your opponent has stellar aim despite really having no need for it for this event.
In an instant you are lying on your back, bleeding from your chest. No one comes to your aid, because they think you brought blood packets to be super realistic. You have just been killed by a Revolutionary War musket in the United States, but more importantly, this whole thing would’ve never happened if it weren’t for The Stamp Act of 1765.
Like Blanche Dubois before, we have always depended on the kindness of strangers. The altruistic application of paying it forward has the potential to get one out of many of a jam, but just because the very nature of this compassion is a positive one, that doesn’t mean it will not ever meet with fatal results.
Take this hypothetical situation:
You’re enjoying a lovely vacation in the East African nation of Tanzania. The people have been so wonderful to you, treating you as one of their own, but alas you’ve had your fill of the capital city of Dar Es Salaam and would like to make your way to the Mikumi National Park for a wildlife safari sightseeing adventure. You casually mention this to your new friend Machupa who you met at a local bar the evening before. As it turns out, Machupa is heading that way the next day anyway and he offers you a ride in his 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible. You offer him money, but he turns it down because he is overjoyed by the potential of your company.
Early the next afternoon you are coasting along the A17 towards Mbeya at speeds in excess of 100 KMH when suddenly out of nowhere a Wildebeest appears in the middle of the road. Machupa desperately tries to hit the brakes in time, but seeing as he is still drunk from the night before (unbeknownst to you, the name Machupa means “likes to drink” in Swahili) his reaction time is delayed. The 1996 Chrysler Sebring goes plowing into said Wildebeest and your aerodynamic body goes shooting through the windshield where you lay motionless on the ground. Dead. You have been killed by the kindness of a stranger in Tanzania.
We all saw the movie Cool Runnings. We know what happens when a country with little experience in winter sports gets in over it’s head. Yes, hilarity inevitably ensues. However, inexperience is often an excellent way to leave the gate open for danger.
Imagine this hypothetical situation:
You’re visiting Jamaica and hear that recently the country has decided to put an Ice Hockey team together for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Interested in taking in a practice, you make your way on over to the makeshift ice rink conveniently located a quick cab ride from the Holiday Inn at Montego Bay or Hedonism III resort you’re staying at. Meanwhile, the Jamaican National Team is engaged in a scrimmage. As you enter the arena you feel very little trepidation, but quickly realize that this is not your average hockey rink. There are no fiberglass boards separating the team from the audience, of which there is none. You’re the only spectator aside from newly crowned player/coach Usain Bolt who has just come off on a line change. Out of the corner of your you notice the defenseman lining up to take a slapshot from the point and the forward moving into position to block the shot.
Before you know it, the shot has careened over the below regulation wooden barrier and is headed directly in between your eyes. You feel little pain, but you suddenly notice you’re not in a hockey rink anymore, but in line to see Cool Runnings at the St. Peter’s Gate Cineplex and not only are you completely naked, but you have wings.
You have been killed by an errant hockey puck in Jamaica.