Eliot Olsenson (April 7, 1919 - May 9, 1969) was a Carrawayan man who was patient zero for a 1969 outbreak of a still unidentified disease that was colloquially referred to as "The Big Dumb". The outbreak affected as much as half of the population of the county of Rilloq.
Early life (fictional)
Olsenson was born on April 7, 1919 and grew up on a farm in the village of Skamplanck. He acquired a modest fortune as a result of an accidental oil well discovery directly beneath his property. This fortune was spent entirely on mechanical typewriters and was depleted by 1941.
Nothing of importance happened in his life between this point and 1969.
Olsenson lived in the Bellamyville neighborhood of Adustelan in the late 1960s, where he acquired a still unidentified disease in early May 1969 while working at La Bonne Vie. The disease reportedly caused confusion, irritability, and overall ineptitude in the infected.
The infection was quick to spread throughout the city, and by May 6 over half of Adustelan's population was reporting symptoms of the disease. As the entirety of the city's leading biologists were also infected, any efforts made to identify the disease were fruitless, leading the public to identify the disease as "The Big Dumb" (the unknown disease was given the official name "The Big Stupid" by researchers at Devoner University).
The outbreak resulted in no deaths, but many man hours of productive work were lost and as a result the economy lost millions in damages. One of the affected testified that "[he] was fired because [he] was simply incapable of doing [his] work. [He] would sit for upwards of an hour at work, wasting time writing biographies of fictional people in fictional cities instead of actually being productive."
The public's outrage over the situation led to an effective witch hunt to find the source responsible. It was discovered to be Olsenson through his coworker at La Bonne Vie, Shane Mattel, who took notice of Olsenson's symptoms before anyone else and constantly made fun of him for it.
On May 9, 1969, Mattel took Olsenson to the roof of the Marigold Building and with one shot of a NERF Gun (having just been invented that year), forced Olsenson off the roof. His death was ruled as an accident, as Mattel, still under the effects of the disease, was still considered legally insane. He was also a diplomat from New Zealand and thus was considered to have immunity anyway.
The disease, though never concretely identified, was given the official name Olsenson's Disease in 1970.
Mattel alluded heavily to Olsenson in his 1977 memoir He Was Just Bad. The story was dramatized in the 1999 Carrawayan comedy-drama of the same name, directed by John Schrafft. The film received generally positive reviews but bombed in the box office.