I come bearing good news: According to Harvard scientists (and Harvard scientists are never wrong), the Coronavirus pandemic should largely subside by the end of next year, or possibly early 2022. Plus, a 63% effective vaccine is less than 18 months away.
Okay, maybe not so good news. But on the positive side, the Seattle Mariners will likely finally end 15 consecutive losing seasons since Major League Baseball plans to cancel the current season.
The Coronavirus is affecting our lives in countless ways. Schools are cancelled, people are working from home, and “My Corona” is the #1 song on the pop charts.
If you’re like most of us, you’re probably anxious about proper Social Distancing in the midst of this plague – unless you’re a complete idiot – or the Governor of Georgia (but I repeat myself). Exactly how far apart should people be? Six feet? Ten? My daughter says it’s roughly the distance I can throw a baseball, so 15 feet. Some experts recommend at least one zip code of separation, just to be on the safe side, and wearing an extra layer of bubble wrap whenever you leave the house.
Then there’s the mandate to wear a mask. But where? At the grocery store? Walking your cat around the block? What about in your backyard? Or while doing yoga in your bedroom, naked? And what constitutes an adequate mask, or for that matter, “naked?”
Let me ease your mind. Nobody is telling you to shelter in place 24/7 (with the exception of mayors, governors, and those annoying Harvard scientists). You needn’t be sequestered in your man cave for the next six months, binging on The Real Housewives of New Jersey (although, I must admit, Season 3 exceeded my expectations). Furthermore, you’re free to wear a bandana, dark glasses, and a hoodie when out in public (just use caution when entering a bank). And for God’s sake: DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! (Admit it. You just scratched your nose, didn’t you? You’re hopeless.)
I offer you a solution to this madness. Simply do what I do: Wash and Wipe.
The Coronavirus germ can hang around for an exhaustingly long time, perhaps even weeks – much like my freeloading brother-in-law, Ralph.
You can try to wait out the contagion, scarfing down tubs of Chunky Monkey, slowly giving up on all your hopes and dreams. Or you can neutralize that pesky peril by washing and wiping.
The general rule of thumb is this: Wash your hands any time you touch something potentially infectious, like a shopping cart or a doorknob or a tiger. (Dobermans, however, are perfectly safe.) Better yet, wipe down the shopping cart, doorknob, and tiger before you touch them.
Let me explain how this works. Imagine it’s time for your monthly Costco run. You decide it would be fun to take the kids, but you’re running late for the special early bird Senior shopping hours. So instead of giving 6-year-old Sarah and 4-year-old Tony their baths, you teach them how to sponge themselves with Lysol wipes.
Everyone is buckled in when you realize you forgot to wash the seats. You improvise by spraying the interior with the garden hose, explaining to your giggling cherubs that it’s raining inside. You arrive at Costco and find the parking lot already swarming with vehicles beating you to an open space and your chance of getting the last remaining toilet paper just got flushed down the toilet. So, you hunt for a spot in the overflow area four football fields away. Sarah jumps out and climbs into a shopping cart, dragging Tony in after. “STOP!” you scream, but it’s too late. You take one of the fourteen jars of sanitizing wipes you keep in the trunk and wash the urchins and the entire cart.
Inside this mega-store, Sarah plays fetch with Tony, throwing him boxes of Cocoa Puffs and paper towels and everything else she can get her hands on. You intercept the paper towels, praising Sarah for the good find, and you load up with enough peanut butter, cereal, paper towels, dental floss, and Purell to last through the next nuclear winter.
Back at Scooby Doo lot N, you finally locate your car and immediately start wiping down the bags, as well as the kids, before piling all into the car. You use another jar of towelettes to disinfectant the steering wheel, dashboard, and every surface your hooligans touched while fighting in the back seat.
Finally home, you send S & T to wash their mitts raw. You unload the groceries, including the 60” flat screen TV you bought on impulse (your wife will eventually forgive you) and restock the pantry. Mission accomplished? Um, not quite. Ask yourself: Who else might have pawed these containers of peanut butter, cereal, and dental floss? Perhaps a band of Coronavirus-positive terrorists infiltrated Costco and spat on everything – and now, their infected germs are in your house.
What’s more, all the tainted groceries are nestled in with other items in your cupboards. Breathing deeply, you remove every bag and box, and the shelves and cabinet doors, and give them all a meticulous scrub. Don’t forget the counter. I bet you grabbed the wipes after you touched the contaminated stuff. Rooky mistake. Use another wipe to clean the wipes.
Remember how you told Sarah and Tony to wash their hands until they bled? Were you aware they first played hide ‘n seek? Since it’s impossible to know precisely which chairs, tables, and pets they touched, waste no time in cordoning off those rooms and animals before further harm is done.
To be prudent, I recommend setting a controlled blaze to the affected rooms and rebuilding that wing of the house using state-of-the-art sterile hospital cleanroom construction materials. Or perhaps just sell your home now before the market tanks.
Finally, wash your hands every 30 minutes. A timer will help. (You can scale back to once an hour during your REM sleep cycle.)
That’s it. Easy-peasy. Follow these simple steps and you’ll sleep rest easy, assuming you remembered to wipe down your phone, remote, keyboard, gerbil, outlets, and well, you get the idea. You’ll be fine. Just DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020