Since forever, suffering through chicken pox has been a childhood rite of passage to be suffered once and never again. Parents of children who hadn't had the virus would even go so far as to request playdates with diseased children in hopes that their child would get the damn sickness over with. Now, the internet is simplifying the process, allowing tech savvy parents to skip the whole playdate step and just focus on what counts— finding parents of children with chicken pox on Facebook and paying them to send contaminated objects to them through the mail.
One Facebook group, called "Find a Pox Party In Your Area" (which sounds like it could be a horrible double entendre for "discover an unfortunate rash on your inner thighs") encourages parents to "help their children acquire natural immunity from chicken pox" by organizing play dates between their own children and strangers' sick children. Some are even going so far as to send infected items like lollipops or saliva soaked rags through the mail. This sounds like a recipe for some hilarious episodes of Judge Judy. Or, a new show called When Thinking Caps Fail.
Not surprisingly, doctors aren't too fond of this idea, or of the idea of pox parties in general. One concerned physician remarks that deliberately infecting your child with chicken pox can result in complications like encephalitis or fever. The chicken pox virus is highly contagious and can be deadly to sick or elderly people and infants. Not to mention the fact that it's illegal to send viruses through the mail. Very illegal.
"Whatever, shut up doctors!" say parents, and they're going on with their pox party having selves the way they want. Psh. Doctors. Next thing you know, they'll do something crazy like suggest children under 2 shouldn't watch television or that kids should be vaccinated. You don't know my baby!
Phoenix's CBS affiliate reports,
A Facebook post reads, "I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit." Another woman warns, "This is a federal offense to intentionally mail a contagion."
Another woman answers, "Tuck it inside a zip lock baggy and then put the baggy in the envelope :) Don't put anything identifying it as pox."
And thus the Pox Parties continue unabated. Judging from the Facebook page's wall, contaminated materials have already been sent from Arizona to several states, including California and Georgia.
What's to stop any old user of Facebook to make up an imaginary kid in an effort to secure a package of viruses? No self respecting graduate of the Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov School of Hijinks could go without mentioning the possible revenge implications of this pathogen-by-mail business model. Got a cheating dog of an ex who never got chicken pox as a child and is about to go on a ski trip? A pox on thee! What about your frenemy who uses all your jokes as Facebook status updates? Pox-a-poppin'! And how about the neighbor with the terrier that never shuts up? A singing pox telegram delivered in person, for both human and dog! Revenge, so sweet, will be yours.
This method of revenge may result in conviction by an international war crimes tribunal.
Meanwhile, a panel of pediatricians has just declared children of America's pox-mailers may be better off raised by wolves.