Staying Silly in Troubled Times
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
I had considerable hesitation about running a humorous piece on such a serious topic, but finally decided that a bit of levity might be just the thing in these difficult days.
Since this coronavirus thing started I’ve been keeping a journal, a sort of ‘Hamster version of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year. Here’s a random assortment of recent entries.
Precautionary Measures. I’ve been self-isolating, but recently had to run some errands and I couldn’t find any protective masks around the house. All I could come up with was a ski mask. This was working pretty well until I walked into my bank. On a positive note, the county jail officer who released me the next morning carefully Purrelled his hands before returning my belongings.
All Together Now. I was at Home Depot and had to use the restroom. There were three other guys in there washing their hands and I could see them all mouthing the words to “Happy Birthday” as they lathered up. “All right, chaps,” I said merrily, “all together now,” and we launched into a fairly passable barbershop quartet rendition of the song. Then one of the fellows suggested we try a doo-wop version. That wasn’t bad either. We tried several other styles and only quit when the manager came in to see why four guys were hanging around in the restroom so long.
Good Guy With a Gun. When the coronavirus started spreading, I saw internet photos of people lining up at gun stores, many fearing approaching anarchy, societal disintegration and grabby people in the toilet paper aisle at Walmart. Maybe I should be prepared also, I thought, vaguely recalling seeing a gun in our attic. Rummaging around up there I found it: my Daisy BB gun I bought when I was 11, over the objection of my parents. This would have to do. OK, you marauding hordes, if you’re coming for my toilet paper you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
Chutzpah. The airlines are asking for a bailout. These guys have been raking in record profits for years while cutting back services and charging extra for everything they can think of. When I heard that some airlines were going to start charging extra for a middle seat, that pushed me over the edge. Hey, airlines, strapped for cash? Don’t look at me. Maybe you should have your executives give back their obscene bonuses.
Bad Timing. I had to go to Fred Meyer for a few essentials. As I walked in I was still chomping on some Corn Nuts I’d been eating in the car. One stuck in my throat and I started coughing uncontrollably just as I came through the door. A couple of burly fellow shoppers grabbed me, hustled me out the door and pushed me into the parking lot. One of them said, “Don’t come in here if you’re coughing, you irresponsible jerk.” I tried to explain but I couldn’t. I had a Corn Nut stuck in my throat.
Essentials. I do understand that we should only be going out on essential errands, but my wife had to inform me that a trip to Trader Joe’s just to stock up on dark chocolate peanut butter cups probably wouldn’t be considered essential.
Silver Lining. Because of the coronavirus, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders had to hold their debate without a live audience. I thought this was great. The candidates stuck more to the issues, didn’t toss out zingers to elicit cheap applause, and since there wasn’t an auditorium full of yahoos clapping and cheering, there was more time for the actual debate. I say we keep the no-audience format for all future debates.
Staying Safe. Now that we’re supposed to stay six feet away from other people, I no longer have to worry about something that was perplexing me. Back when we were elbow bumping rather than shaking hands, I wasn’t sure if I should be sanitizing my elbows after every encounter.
What’s in a Name? Donald Trump, fond as he is of racist and xenophobic language, persists in calling this the Chinese virus. Since Trump diddled around at the beginning of all this, suggesting it was no big deal and the handful of cases would quickly drop to zero, he exacerbated the situation. I think that rather than calling it the Chinese virus, a better name for this malady is the Trump virus.