2005-10-09

Geocaching Disease

Seems I'm building up to stage 1 :)
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A NEW DISEASE

We have identified a new disease, probably caused by a virus among
geocaching people. It apparently has been in existence for a
considerable time, but only recently has anyone identified this
disease, and begun to study it. We call it the Acquired Cache
Obsessive Syndrome (ACOS).

At first, ACOS was originally considered to be psychological in
nature, but after two young researchers here suddenly decided to
become geocachers, we realized that we were dealing with an
infectious agent.

Epidemiologists here have identified three stages of this disease
and typical symptoms, and they are:


A. You have early symptoms (Stage I) if:

1. You think that any cache within 300 miles is near by.
2. You begin to enjoy getting up at 5 a.m. in the morning to drive
300 miles to go look in tick and mosquito infested woods to be
a "FTF" for other people's caches.
3. It is fun to spend several hours a day on Saturdays and
throughout
the week crashing through underbrush, poison ivy and muck to find
the cache.
4. You think you're being frugal if you spend less than $3,000
dollars a year on radios, equipment, Cache containers, Fillers, GPS
equipment, etc.
5. You can't remember what it was like to have just one find.


B. You definitely have the disease (Stage II) if:


1. Your most important factor when buying a car is how close it will
get you to a cache.
2. When you look for a house, the first thing you think of is how
many caches are in the area ( or how many more you can place ).
3. You spend as much on bug bite prevention and relief as on doctors.
4. You have no money because of your "hobby".
5. You have to buy more than one vehicle a year, because you keep
burning out the 7-year or 70,000-mile warranty going to find caches
and attending events.
6. Your have more pictures of the caches than of your family or
almost every picture of your family has them knelt down in from of a
cache.
7. Your idea of a fun vacation is to go to a " Camoflaugeing 101"
class or take a " Your GPS and You " course.
8. Most of your conversations revolve around The Find. The others
revolve around containers, cache bags, and where to buy the
cheapest Must Have Geocaching accessories.
10. You noticed that I skipped #9 and know that has to be a clue in
this puzzle cache.
11. You keep a dead snake in your fridge so that you can show others
what a copperhead looks like.
12. After a surgery, or an injury you sustain, You turn to drive up
virtuals and locationless caches to get your " Fix "


C. You are a terminal case (Stage III) if:

1. You wake up in the morning and find out that you put the kids in
the cache and the TBs in the beds last night.
2. You know each cache's name, location, and owner, but can't figure
out who that stranger in the house is; it turns out to be your
husband (wife).
3. Your friends keep insisting that those kids running around
bothering the cache are yours.
4. You keep telling the kids to "get into the car so we can go
somewhere fun" and they go put on long pants. You can't understand
why they don't understand that cleaning their room is a 2/3 and
taking out the trash is a 1/1.
5. You cash in the kid's college trust fund to get that new GPS.
6. You've been on the road looking for caches so long that you can't
remember where you live. But you do have that location in your GPS,
so you follow the arrow.
7. Your family tells you "It's either the caching or us;" you choose
to go get that " gallon of milk " they need..


Do you have this dreaded disease? Well, there is hope. In the course
of our research, we have found that most cases seem to stop at Stage
II, and remain chronic.

We, with great difficulty, managed to acquire several Stage III ACOS
patients. They are currently in our isolation wards, where we are
studying them to gain a better understanding of this disease. It is
a sad sight, seeing these formerly vibrant people as they shuffle
around their rooms in endless L-patterns or Z-patterns, searching
every nook and cranny, and figuring out where they will place their
next one. Merely saying "FTF" can send them into an uncontrollable
frenzy.

Unfortunately, there isn't much hope for these cases, but with time
and research to further understand this disease, we hope to come up
with a cure. We are now attempting to isolate the causative agent,
and may be able to develop a vaccine in the future.

An interesting sidelight of this disease seems to be that exposure
at an early age has an immunizing effect. Several people afflicted
with ACOS at Stage II and Stage III have close family members
(children, husbands, wives) who have absolutely no disease. But in
others it just adds on to the effects.

It is thought by some of our researchers that this may be due to
environmental effects, to an age-related immune function, or to the
fact that those at these stages of the disease tend not to associate
with their close family members possibly due to the memory deficit
induced by the disease - that is, in that they don't remember that
they have close family members! Unless they all cache together, then
they consider themselves a " Team " and go by a single name that
they introduce themselves as.

What can you do to prevent this disease? Until a cure is found,
prevention is the measure. Avoid anyone with a GPS in their
possesion, since it may be that their gps's are carriers of the
disease. Leave town on those days that the local newspapers inform
you of a cache event or geocaching presentation in the area.


If you inadvertently come into contact with an ACOS-afflicted
person, leave as soon as possible (before they ask you to come try
it), and thoroughly shower, preferably with germicidal soap ( make
sure you check for ticks ). If you are living with an ACOS-afflicted
person, take comfort that, if you haven't succumbed yet, you are
probably safe.

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