Monday, March 01, 2010

Cocks vs Cocks

     I recently found out, and by recently I mean just the other day, that two different countries in two very different places are dealing with cocks in very different ways.  Belgium, which has the only fully lighted motorway system in the world, is trying to use cocks to clean up, while Zimbabwe, which I am pretty sure has bigger problems on its hands, is trying to clean up cocks.  Let's start in Belgium, shall we?
    In the quaint Belgian town of Mouscron is right across the border from the French city of Roubaix, where they are mad that a fast food chain has removed a bacon cheeseburger from the menu and replaced it with a Halal burger that fits Muslim dietary needs.  But that's for another day.  Leave the beef issues to Roubaix; across the border in Mouscron chickens rule the day.  The town is in possession of 50 pairs of chickens that it is planning to distribute to families in town that have room to have chickens in their yards in an effort to help reduce waste.  They are stressing that families that enroll in the program will get a steady supply of fresh eggs.
     What they seem to be forgetting, though, is that chickens produce a lot of shit, and it will be laying all over your lawn.  I mean, have you ever seen what happens when geese are eating on your lawn for a couple of hours?  Imagine a chicken all the time.  I guess that my question is what is worse: a few extra table scraps or chicken shit all over your finely manicured lawn?
     But I digress.  It's not all three-egg omlettes and hen-pecking with this chicken program.  There are rules.  First of all, you have to have a good enough yard.  Second, you have to promise not to eat the damn things or give them away for two years.  If you want a live chicken to eat you have to go down to the public assistance office, not the trash office.  Also, you have to read instructions about taking care of chickens.  So it's like you have to go to class, which is super lame.  I am not sure the chicken payoff is worth it.  But it's better than what they are doing with cocks in Zimbabwe.
     Zimbabwe, where inflation is reaching pre-World War Two in Germany levels, where the money is barely worth the paper it's printed on, where the races can't get along and nobody knows who owns what, and where a crazy despot just doesn't care about the health of his country.  That Zimbabwe.  The one that I always get confused with Zambia.
    Well, despite the fact that most people don't have anything to eat, nowhere to live, and nothing really, they are pretty worried about AIDS.  Oh and HIV.  Remember those?  A lot of people were worried about those things around the West back in the 80s and early 90s.  Like, around the time when Tom Hanks was in Philadelphia.  The problem is that HIV and AIDS are endemic in Africa, and Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of infection.  One could imagine that is not good.  So they are doing something about it.
     What they are doing is chopping off guys cocks.  On three million men.  Well, not all of them.  I mean not all of the cocks.  Let me explain.  Authorities in Zimbabwe have taken heed in the results of several trials done in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa that have shown circumcision decreases the risk of a man contracting AIDS by 60%.  So they have enacted a program that has already circumcised about 3,000 men, voluntarily of course, and hopes to do the deed to those other three million over the next eight years.
     The operations are fee of charge, and patients are given counseling and an HIV test before they go under the knife.  The HIV test is for health, and the counseling is for the patient because circumcision is not normal among the cultural and religious groups in Zimbabwe.  Still, men are volunteering, and they are practicing other methods, such as condoms, abstinence, and monogamy that are being preached by nonprofits and other groups.  All of this had led to a drop in HIV infections rates according to the government Ministry of Health, but I am not sure I trust the government of Zimbabwe.  I mean, they are the one clipping cocks, right?

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