If you live in a country that’s far enough along to have Internet service, it’s a fair bet that your ideas about rabies mostly come from Old Yeller. In the public imagination, you get rabies when a dog bites you, and then your nephew—who may or may not have had to grow up and be the man of the house after his Pa died fightin’ Indians—has to chain you to a tree for three days to make sure you don’t go berserk and start biting everyone.
If you do, then he has to learn the meaning of manhood by shooting you himself while his Ma . . . who knows. Washes something? Disney wasn’t real clear on that.
In reality, you’d be chained to that tree for quite some time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the incubation period for rabies can be as long as one year, and once you develop symptoms they are—you guessed it—flu-like. Then it hijacks your nervous system, turns you into a drooling mess, and “almost always” kills you.