JCNOn Sundays, Gothamist runs opinion pieces, mostly to amuse ourselves. Don't blame us for anything written below.

Sounding like so much spam, my girlfriend received a message in her email last week entitled "RX!" The body of the note stated that "it wasn't a matter of if the avian flu is going to reach you, but when" and implored her to "visit [her] doctor this week!" and "get a prescription" because other countries are "already out of Tamiflu."

The kicker? This email was from her mother.

At first glance, it seems like a wonderful time to slide up to your favorite physician and get a little Tamiflu-love on the side, even if you do not feel the slightest bit sniffly or achy. After all, flu season is upon us, and Tamiflu is one drug that seems to be making consistent inroads in the war on influenza, as well as being effective in putting a dent in the bird flu once it does decide to make the leap from human-to-human. The Boy Scouts tell us to always be prepared, and given the shortages of the drug, it seems from a self-preservationist standpoint to be the way to approach the impending doom.

This is completely wrong.

First, all the lefties with their sense of civic duty and all the righties with a sense of moral obligation should hold off and let someone more deserving take their hit of Tamiflu. When the pandemic comes to town, it will be those people with the weaker immune systems and those people in high risk jobs that will need to be protected first. People have gotten and subsequently developed antibodies against H1N5, the strain of avian flu that we're all scared of, so if you're young and healthy, your body is probably strong enough to keep you alive and kicking long enough to build up those antibodies yourself. Grandma probably doesn't have those luxuries, and the folks in the ER are exposed to more nasties than you ever will be. The vaccines that exist should be available to those who need it the most.

If doing good by others isn't your thing, then you should take heed the notion that any strain of the avian flu that decides to make the jump to a pandemic-causing human strain of the virus is going to have to mutate some more, and that Tamiflu may not even be the right treatment any more. According to the CDC, there is no avian flu vaccine, so Tamiflu may not be the right answer here anyway. Using the drug in the wrong way could cause the virus to become resilient to it, rendering any stockpiles ineffective in the end. That everyone is clamoring for Tamiflu says more for the ineffectiveness of all of the old drugs on the market which have, over time, lost their potency to every-stronger, ever-changing strains of the virus.

But even if you're still craving your own private stash of the drug (to go with your collection of Cipro), remember that we've had avian flu making the jump from birds to humans since 1997. The CDC still considers the chance of the avian flu making the jump from birds to humans in the U.S. to be low, and the jump from human-to-human to be lower. The case of avian flu that was found in Texas in 2004 was different from the avian flu tearing through Asia, so in all likelihood, it's going to take a while longer before we're actually facing down a real live pandemic.

But in the end, you're SOL anyway, because Roche stopped shipping Tamiflu to the U.S. on Thursday.

So don't worry. You're probably going to be fine, but if the pandemic does come to town, your best bet is to take a page from the Boccaccio playbook and head for the hills. If it's good enough for the plague, it's good enough for the flu.

Jesse Chan-Norris is more critical than you are, but in a friendly sort of way. He can be found all over the web, but especially at jessechannorris.com.