Well, because when we are scared we are more easily led, and because fear is big business. What is the answer to the bird flu? Buying stuff that will protect you from the bird flu. Stuff like antibacterial dishwashing liquid and germ-killing floor wax. Conversely, we are not being told too much about the negative affects of tobacco or booze or Twinkies, because then we might stop buying them. And if that happened, then the CEOs of these companies could not retire with $200 million pensions, and they would not be able to buy sumptuous condos in places like Cancun. (Next door to a lovely killer bee couple.) So be afraid, because the bird flu is coming. And when it fails to materialize, there will be something even scarier behind it. Like the poodle plague or the chipmunk cooties, and then we will all be doomed! Phil Perrier is a comedian and humor writer in Los Angeles. Write to him by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2And they were Africanized! Good God, man, do you know what that means!? But they never quite got here. Maybe they stopped in Cancun and bought time shares. Perhaps they mellowed with age and transformed from killer bees to mildly cranky bees. But it doesn’t matter. By the time the killer bees dropped off the radar, something else had come along to replace them, like the comet Kahoutec or the metric system. Oh, yes, how quickly we forget. For years we were being warned of the arrival of the evil metric system. We were all going to have to learn it, while at the same time, like robots, we would have to delete from our brains any memory of words like “feet,” “inches” or “tons.” The same system of weights and measures used by foreigners and Commies was coming, swarming its way up from Mexico, only a few miles behind the killer bees. There was no place to hide. But it never quite got here either. In fact, the only Americans who adopted the metric system were cocaine dealers. Because, apparently, nobody could afford a gallon of cocaine. So why do they do it? Why do the media and the government and corporate America keep bathing us in fear? And why aren’t they a little more vocal about the stuff that really is killing us, like cigarettes and alcohol and gluttonizing on fatty foods? The easiest people to control are people who are scared. This fact is taught in “Tyrant 101.” Just ask Hitler or Saddam Hussein. On a more subtle level, it is why the Powers that Be in this country keep jarring us with scares like the bird flu. The cover of every major news magazine has splashed us with the dreaded bird flu. The network news and the president have warned us of the imminent arrival of the avian flu and its potential for mayhem of biblical proportions. Do not let the fact that not a single person in America has died from the bird flu fool you, we are doomed. Remember the Asian flu? The swine flu? They were going to liquidate the planet also but they never quite got around to it. When was the last time you were attacked by “Africanized killer bees?” Been a while? During the 1970s, the killer bees were the bird flu du jour. Time and Newsweek told us they were coming; Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters told us not to trust any bee, even if they swore they were not killer bees. The damned things were swarming their way north through Mexico, it was just a matter of time.