The lone star tick, or Amblyomma Americanum, is spreading alpha-gal syndrome, a severe allergic reaction to meats like pork, beef, and lamb. Aided by the warmer temperatures caused by climate change, or some say God toying with the earth's thermostat, these ticks are expanding their operations and spreading the exposure to this anti-meat syndrome.
There is a group mirroring the "Birds Aren't Real" movement claiming just like birds, the meat allergy ticks are ground-based weaponized government surveillance drones. One junior congressperson has even hinted that the Pentagon is in cahoots with Bill Gates to de-meatify America. By causing this adverse meat reaction, people will be forced against their will to eat only plant-based food products. Of course, these are only the wild speculations of conspiracy-addled nitwits, but once on the internet, the claims become gospel for many.
Trailheads, a hiking group based in Atlanta, GA, knew the menace was real. Before every warm weather hike, they spray their bodies with the most effective, safe-for-human repellents available. There's always something out there looking for blood––chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, and ants (plus politicians running for office pleading for donations). Snakes, bears, and skunks have their defenses to keep hikers at bay, and box turtles rely on their lightning-quick reflexes at the first sign of danger.
"We're aware of the meat allergy tick issue," said Trail Master Guy Tucker. "There are a lot of dangers that come with hiking. But a meat allergy is downright frightening for a group that hikes for exercise and camaraderie with a big barbecue lunch reward at the trail's end. Our motto is, On the path to truth and barbecue. It's on our tee shirts. We can't have ticks ruin us."
In an effort to assist scientists and medical experts, Trailheads leading research analyst Steve Floyd has headed West to determine the leading edge of the tick migration. He has made it as far as Colorado and reports: "The barbecue out here is great, but I haven't spotted a single tick yet."
Tucker said Roy Trimble, Trailheads' infectious disease specialist, has sent a letter to the CDC, based in Atlanta, to ask for their help with this critical matter. "We're walking in the woods every week with very little protection against this anti-barbecue menace," Mr. Trimble said. "We need medical science's help. STAT!"
He said he was awaiting a response. Meanwhile the CDC has been very busy. They estimate that between 2004 and 2019, tick-borne diseases in the US have more than doubled. Who knows what has happened in the three years since then?
The ticks are expanding their territory and heading West. It could be for the sun and fun of Southern California. Papa Hemingway might describe it as a movable feast with so many barely-clothed people frolicking on beaches.
The ticks are ravenous, and their unfortunate victims may be left with an uncontrollable urge to resist barbecue. The allergic reaction can be painful and unrelenting. And the aftermath could be catastrophic. Bikini and hiking gear sales will plummet, surfboards will be idle, and barbecue joints will disappear. Air conditioner sales will increase as the age of the great indoors-people begins, possibly endangering the fragile ecosystem of dust bunnies.
Barbecue is not just a meal. It's a way of life—a tradition. The techniques are specialized and passed down from pitmaster to pitmaster. Bark and smoke rings are measures of a pitmaster's worth. And now, this cherished cuisine is being threatened by teeny-tiny ticks.
Trailheads have alerted Georgia pitmasters, warning them about vegetarian-inducing ticks spreading a dangerous disease. We want barbecue joint personnel to look for the warning signs of someone suffering a meat allergy. An early warning sign may be if a diner picks at his moist, smoky pulled pork or moves brisket aside to get to the mac and cheese. We recommend rushing the person to an epidemiologist or local doc-in-a-box for evaluation and begin an IV drip of barbecue sauce.
"Pitmasters are our first line of defense," Trailheads' Meat Allergies Specialist Patrick Scullin said (although he has no medical degrees, he speaks with authority). “We need these meat maestros to watch for the canary in the coalmine." He suggested that The Park Service, CDC, and barbecue joints coordinate and determine an appropriate action plan.
Make no mistake: these anti-barbecue arachnids are out for our blood and inhibit our love of barbecue. This will not stand. For now, we encourage all barbecue lovers to enjoy every bite and savor the smoky goodness that 16 hours in a smoker brings. And after every hike, strip down and have a friend or someone you'd like to know better scan your entire body looking for evidence of the lone star tick.
The future of barbecue depends on it, along with your future happiness.
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