With vaccine shipments in short supply or going missing or ending up in the wrong hands, the government had no choice but turn to the semi-retired, but long battle-tested defense against illness and poisoning, Mr. Yuk, last week.
Found living in relative obscurity in a rest home in Phoenix, Mr. Yuk (or Senor Gross, as he’d come to be known in the Southwest) was hesitant about re-entering the fray and putting his face out there again, but when shown the ugly details of the epidemic ravaging the world, Yuk was convinced.
“I do what I can,” Mr. Yuk said at a press conference Monday. “If they’ve gotta plaster my mug on every touchable surface the world over to prevent the spread of this heinous disease, I say let’s do it. We’ll be roasting this swine flu at a luau by next summer!”
Mr. Yuk (or Monsieur Bleech, as he’s known in Quebec) is single-handedly credited with preventing death-by-ingesting-Clorox among children and stoned adults in the eighties, and yet he’s never proven successful in battle a disease more potent than common stupidity. His appearance on cartons of Marlboros didn’t halt the number of smokers coming down with lung cancer, nor did his face on hypodermic needles prevent anyone from testing HIV positive in decades past.
But with little idea for what else to do for a long suffering populace, new Surgeon General Regina Benjamin decided to roll out the old icon in the “Don’t Touch, Don’t Eat” field of prevention.
“Since 1971, Mr. Yuk has been a stalwart soldier in the fight for poison control for the young and illiterate,” Benjamin said. “We now feel he can help us persuade the public to not touch well handled surfaces, such as doorknobs, railings, vending machine buttons, people’s extended hands for shakes, loved ones looking for hugs, and strippers looking for dollar, dollar bills, y’all.”
Mr. Yuk stickers (or Comrade Disgust, as he’s called in Minsk) have begun appearing by the millions in the nation’s cities, with billions more expected in the upcoming holiday season. This has created quite a surge in popularity for the Pittsburgh-based legend. Yuk’s green, grossed-out visage is being slapped on everything from cafeteria trays to Grandma’s forehead, with no end in sight.
“Touching is bad,” third-grader Bobby Puse of Southlawn Elementary said when asked about the stickers. “Mr. Yuk tells us so. I don’t want to die from the pig sickness!”
Many other elementary students agreed with Bobby, and also swore off eating ham.
But not everyone is thrilled with Mr. Yuk’s return to prominence. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has been vociferous in their denouncing the government’s appropriation of their singular symbol.
“We are as concerned about the H1N1 virus as anyone else,” AAPCC spokesman Donald Ayers announced today. “But confusing the message of Mr. Yuk in this way is potentially dangerous. If anything, Mr. Yuk should be on every one of the hand sanitizer stations popping up all over the globe, as that stuff is potentially fatal if swallowed. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Where Yuk shouldn’t be is on your neighbor’s dog’s tongue, or on your child’s school notebook.”
Not to be outdone, Tot Finder has announced it will parlay its formerly ubiquitous image into somehow helping the cause, hoping to get its fireman logo back into mass production shortly. Mr. Yuk, for one, says things couldn’t be better.
“I was reluctant to get into the ‘Warning-Everyone-About-Everything’ game again,” Yuk admitted. “That’s what drove Mrs. Yuk away all those years ago now. Couldn’t take the grind. 24/7/365, it was just too much for her. Plus, I was way more famous than her, like, by a damn sight. So she skedaddled, took the kids, and went off to Nome or some such joint. So it was hard. But I’m back in the game now, baby, and we’re gonna stop this swine madness yet! And who knows, maybe there’ll be a new Mrs. Yuk one of these days. A fella can dream, right?”
At press time, rumors have circulated that Mr. Yuk was fielding a number of romantic offers, and also considering starring in his own reality show for TLC.