As swine flu continues to dominate much of the world’s attention, one man is elated by the pandemic. Jeremy is a hermit who has been living on the outskirts of society for over forty years. He chose to pursue a hermit-lifestyle during the tumultuous 60s, when many people were struggling to find meaning in the chaos that consumed the country.
Jeremy claims he was on a hallucinatory drug binge for months before he finally realized he could no longer separate reality from drug-laced fantasy, and decided to become a hermit. He agreed to this interview only if the reporter remained ten feet away and they spoke through a tin can phone he created just for the interview. He insisted on keeping his personal space.
Jeremy, now 67 and has long since forgotten his last name, admits that on occasion he has questioned his lifestyle choice. He even claims that in his weaker moments, he considered revisiting and rejoining mainstream society.
That was all before the first case of the H1N1 virus came along. Now that the virus has been claimed as an emergency and people are contracting it left and right in major cities and rural areas alike, Jeremy is once again happy with his decision to stay out of it all. By not coming in contact with any humans at all, he gets to keep away the worry of contracting the disease and simultaneously greatly reduces his odds of contracting it.
Jeremy believes that if the epidemic remains at the levels it is, especially with the media over-coverage and indecision about what the right tactic should be (whether to vaccinate and risk being sick from the vaccination or to leave yourself open to possibly contracting the virus), is only helping his cause. He believes there will be at least a handful of people this year who will turn to the hermit lifestyle.
He makes it clear, however, that those hermits should stay away from his territory.
Whether or not Jeremy will return to society anytime before he dies is unclear. He says it is unlikely. He used to see stories of happiness and great medical breakthroughs and financial stability and advancements in humanity when he would sneak around a rural area and check in on the world through the television. Now, the stories are more and more inundated with reasons to not leave your home because you could be hurt or killed or somehow inconvenienced.
For Jeremy, this is just a reminder that he made the correct decision 40 years ago.