Going Viral

LONDON, UK – MARCH 10, 2018 : Bottles of Corona Extra Beer with lime slice on white background.Corona is the most popular imported beer in the US.

Yes, the inevitable has happened. I know of people who will not drink Corona beer because they believe it carries the dreaded virus.

It would do no good to call the ‘coronavirus’ by its more specific name of Covid-19. Because this sounds like an imprecation against cockroaches, it’s likely the supermarket shelves would be emptied of insect baits overnight.

Which brings me to the problematic issue people don’t seem to be able to get out of their pea-brains: toilet paper. Too much has been made of this issue already. Can I just add tangentially that if the problem were an outbreak of gastro-enteritis rather than of a coronavirus, a consistent but perverse reaction might be a rush on hair conditioner.

And of course we all know those armadillo-eating Asians were the cause of it all. We were right to impose entry restrictions on these yellow people. Otherwise they might come here and start eating our koalas. If they can find any after the bushfires.

Do you think, given the power of shock-jocks and social media, we can ever hope that rational discourse at times of crisis will prevail?

In the meantime, please don’t let Donald Trump know about Corona, the beer that is. Otherwise we can expect him to start rattling on about those raping and murdering Mexicans waging biological warfare from across the border.

Joking aside. This is serious.

The lesson we can learn, if we have not already learnt it, is to block our ears when the megaphone mouths are sounding off. Misinformation is never a good look but, in present circumstances with a potentially lethal virus doing the rounds, it could be fatal. Never was it more important to give the big A to those inimical shock-jocks, to the social media cowboys, and to the neighbour next-door who likes the sound of his own voice.

Treat these people as your worst enemies. Because that’s what they are.

The voices we should be listening to are invariably quiet. Their message is evidence based and hence informed. Seek them out. Your life could depend on it.

Don’t horde stuff. It does no good and may do harm.

Wash your hands.

Keep others at a safe distance.

&etc, &etc. You know he drill. You’ve heard it often enough. Do it.

Oh, and seek your stiff upper lip. Look for some form of catharsis. This may be done through (1) horror or (2) humour.

For horror appropriate to the occasion, try reading the Edgar Allan Poe short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It should freak you out big time.

For humour, I cannot think of a better example than the story I tell below. This, I swear, is an event that really happened. It just goes to show that children of any age can teach us adults a thing or two, even in the most trying of times.

A friend of mine, whom I shall call Sandra, is the mother of a nine-year-old girl, whom I shall call Vida. Sandra and Vida went to the local IGA supermarket. As soon as she was inside, young Vida, who had a plan, tore away from her mother and went hurtling down one of the aisles. She came back loaded with multiple twelve-packs of toilet paper. So many, in fact, you could hardly see the little person beneath.

Look mummy, said Vida. I’m panic-buying.

I swear that kid has a rosy future in stand-up comedy.