Easter is a queer creature. Born in the dim light of fading belief, it appears each year around the first full moon after the Autumn equinox. Easter lives for just a few days and yet, has a profound impact on our lives.
While not generally regarded as harmful to humans, its bite can be infectious, typically resulting in short-term madness. Bite victims display several easily identifiable symptoms which disappear, more or less, after five days or so.
The more common of these is an irrational fear of starvation. Sufferers are drawn out of their homes and work places and, on the Thursday afternoon before the long weekend, descend in droves upon their nearest supermarket, often bringing traffic to a standstill and causing widespread chaos. In a frenzy of shopping that can last into the night, they fill trolleys and baskets with every imaginable consumable. Checkouts are dangerously overloaded and queues build and snake down adjacent aisles, adding to the mayhem.
This behaviour has been linked to the universal closure of shops the following day, although why these demented shoppers apparently feel the need to do a week’s shopping to get through that one day remains a mystery.
Anxiety is also seen as a symptom in bite victims. This is generally attributed to a sense of confinement and the associated escape reflex will often develop into a more complex condition known as the Camping Trip.
This commonly affects males between 20 and 40 years of age, although there are documented cases of women exhibiting the same, almost ritualised behaviour. Once infected, sufferers band together, often in large groups, in secluded bushland settings to get away from it all.
The condition is characterised by loud vocalisations and frequent utterance of obscenities. Attempts by outsiders seeking moderation of this behaviour are generally met with vehement hostility. This seems to be the case particularly where muscle contraction (see below) is obvious and it is considered unwise to approach these campers with petitions of social decency and consideration for others.
Contraction of the forearm muscles, usually those of the right arm, is also common. This contraction causes the hand to close tightly and there are authenticated sightings of sufferers, unable to release their grip, carrying cans or bottles of beer for hours, and sometimes days, at a time without respite.
Furthermore, campers at these gatherings appear completely unaware of the nature of their surroundings. They also demonstrate a predilection for disturbingly loud and awful music. This suggests temporary blindness, deafness and abominable taste are also factors. However, conclusive evaluation of this has been hampered by a generally tribal attitude amongst the campers.
A typical Easter produces millions upon millions of eggs (see image at left) in a single season, so extinction is a long way off. And with no known cure for its bite, one thinks the best treatment for its victims is confinement to bed for the duration of the holiday.