As the evil COVID-19 spreads it’s venom, the comedy continues

Our latest column from William Thomas

Is it “self-isolation” or “self-containment”? Is he really The President or just great entertainment? Stay six feet apart and don’t touch your face. Take all this seriously or it’s “shelter in place”!

So I’m doing as I’m told and self-isolating. Hibernating, actually. Up at eight to retrieve the morning paper in the driveway with not so much as a sideways glance at the neighbours. Read the paper over coffee. At my desk. Crank up the computer, pull out the clipboard. Write for four, ideally five hours in solitude-nudging the next book along, roughing out a column.

Catch CBC-Radio news. Walk an hour on the trail. Pad around an empty house. Lunch alone: soup, extra crackers. Read what I wrote this morning. Read a book likely on travel, until it’s wine time at six. Watch CNN then the national networks at 6:30. Prep dinner, eat alone, classical music on low and back to the book…WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! That’s not my new COVID-19 life! That’s been my life since 1980 when I quit my job as an editor and went home to be a full-time writer. Good Lord, apparently I’ve been self-quarantining for the last 40 years!

This global scourge, this planetary pandemic is physically and mentally bitch-slapping every person on earth. It’s insidious and lethal and worst of all invisible. It flits all around us, muted and unseen, malevolent to all, murderous to the weak. It’s like Casper The Evil Ghost.

Suddenly we’re suspicious of each other, not trusting what was good and normal only last week. I’m reading the Toronto Star and the sports pages (both of them) are nothing but postponements, cancellations, and stories about star athletes who have the virus. Last week they broke the coronavirus mold with a feature about an ex-Leaf who’s dying of cancer and morbidly, it was almost refreshing to read. The news section is sadly the same–gloom, doom, death tolls, spiraling numbers, dire warnings and economic bedlam. Last week, there was one non-virus story: “Greenland and Antarctica now melting six times faster than in the 1990s.” And that was a nice change, climate-wise. It took the calamity that was killing us last month to bring a ray of sunshine into the catastrophe that’s killing us now.

The most glaring side effect of this coronavirus is painfully obvious irony. For instance, it’s believed COVID-19 does not thrive in warm weather. Could global warming come to the rescue and help wipe out this escalating plague?

The United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all the world’s warring parties to lay down their arms for the duration of this global infestation. Well, if COVID-19 can eliminate world wars of which there are about 40 going on at any given time–might it also one day win the Nobel Peace Prize?

What if President Trump does have it? It’s all around him and he still stands shoulder-to-shoulder with seven of his flunkies at the daily press briefings as they all preach “physical distancing.” He’s just foolish enough to try and fake his way out of such an embarrassing predicament–he, the stable genius referring to the killer virus as a Democratic hoax. And don’t forget, the doctor that claims he tested negative is the same one who gives him his annual check-up and swears he weighs only 239 lbs!?!

Can you imagine this paradoxical scenario? President Trump finally admits he has the virus and he starts taking Hydroxychloroquine, that malaria drug he keeps wrongly promoting as the

COVID-19. Although it has no effect on the virus it does prove successful in curing pathological lying?!? For the first time since he learned to talk, Donal Trump would have nothing to say!

Coronavirus confusion has gripped the world. You’re mad because you can’t kiss your kid? The Jews can’t even kiss the Wailing Wall. Honest.

One day last week in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his self-contained people to take to their balconies and rooftops for a five-minute tribute to doctors. Cheering and clapping, banging pots and pans–the celebration went on for 30 minutes, Then, united in jubilation they all charged into the streets, hugged and pranced and set off fireworks. Folks, the correct phrase is “physical distancing”, not “fistfights and dancing.”

Potty retraining. In every local store that’s out of toilet paper, there are shelves full of paper towels. Folks, I know you can do this. Buy the paper towels. First, for better absorbency remove the plastic packaging. Now, using scissors (Sharp object alert! Don’t run!) cut the towels into four-inch strips and no, don’t put them out on the porch, place them in a little box next to the toilet. Use when needed. What? You’ll just know when they’re needed. Trust me.

Under the smiling face of the US President is the viral post that went viral: “Trump will forever be known as the president that was so full of shit, the entire country ran out of toilet paper.” Best prediction of when it’s all over? If Trump says Easter then it’ll be Labour Day at least.

Please stay calm. Get off the screens and read a book. Read to each other. Trust me, it’ll change your relationship for the better. Enjoy small things of simple beauty: my trusty hibiscus just gifted me three vibrant orange and red blossoms. Flowers of hope, they are.

And wouldn’t you know it? It’s wine time and tonight I’m passing on the $7.95 Toro Brava and uncorking the 2012 Westcott Pinot Noir because…well, these days you just never know.

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