The Way I See It
Anne McKay Garris
Published: August 14, 2013   |
Updated: August 14, 2013 at 01:42 PM
When you reach my age and the stories about how to be beautiful, thin, well-exercised, gorgeously made up, stylishly dressed, etc. somehow don’t seem as interesting as they used to, it gets difficult to find a magazine that appeals.
They long since have left out the fiction that used to intrigue and entertain me in the women’s magazines. All that leaves me to read about are movie stars, rock musicians and crooked politicians. I was charmed, therefore, to find a magazine called Mental Floss just lying there, waiting to be read, at my grandson’s house. What a hoot! With tongue firmly in cheek, the editors have put together a collection of odd and unknown facts to spike the interest and amuse the most blasé of readers.
Never in one volume have I collected so many “fun things to know and tell.” Mind you, it’s a bit difficult to break into a lively conversation on the best solution for acid influx with the explanation of where the extra star will go in the U.S. flag if Puerto Rico finally becomes a state.
It gave me goose bumps, however, when I discovered among the “25 most pressing questions we want to know” was one about curing polio. This was number three in a list including, “Is it duct tape or duck tape?” and “What will happen if I munch on one of those ‘Do not eat’ silica packets?”
The question was, “What’s the next disease we’re going to cure?” I waved the magazine in the air. “I know, I know,” I shouted.
It’s polio, and the beginnings of the end of this awful disease began right here on Clearwater Beach where Rotarian Herb Brown has lived for years. The year after he served as president of Rotary International, Brown was given a committee and tasked with finding a new project. He and his committee decided to keep it simple.
“We’ll stamp out polio worldwide,” they said, “using local Rotarians in each country to administer the polio vaccine.”
It’s taken many years, and tons of money, and the help of the Bill Gates foundation and the World Health Organization, but Rotary, with clubs in most countries, enlisted local doctors and health aides, persuaded local governments to participate and attempted the impossible.
Today, years later, polio, that dreaded disease that strikes unexpectedly, crippling and maiming young and old alike, is gone from all but three undeveloped countries in the world. And Herb Brown and Rotary are not giving up until those three are included.
I like a magazine that gives you something to cheer about.
- Anne McKay Garris is a freelance writer and lives on Clearwater Beach.