Where were you when shigellosis hit the fans of Ayhan Hassan's Shish-Kebabs, four delightful cafes serving Mediterranean delicacies at moderate prices?
Named for us by TV news, the parasite brought dysentery and emptied all those busy bistros. Poor Ayhan came to us penniless from Cyprus and slowly built his empire and his fortune. Recently honored with a testimonial dinner, he was suddenly facing ruin. Would he survive?
This was serious business; one patron priced the fancy-named diarrhea at $15 million in the courts. But others were loyal, with ads and letters to the press. Ayhan soon got smart and took a few full-page and of his own, thanking his loyal followers by offering dinners for $3.95 - including soup. He was mobbed. All week, from five o'clock on, customers lined up to wait for tables.
Two things we learn from Ayhan's bad luck; one is the name of the affliction, formerly known as food poisoning, and the other is the profound knowledge that dysentery is less fearsome, when dinners are $3.95.