Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Memorandum concerning the Great Plague of 2020

Mmm, boy! Pandemic bat for lunch!
Think about it. Some wannbe chef in Wuhan, China, decides to get creative and cooks up a wok-fried bat. The next thing you know, all of humanity is having a health crisis.

Who but a divine presence could dream up a scenario — much less make it happen — in which a diseased bat in China creates a global pandemic?

The concept is raising hell with my continuously lapsing atheism even as it simultaneously scares me witless and tickles me to pieces. It tells me that God is neither a vengeful God nor a loving God.  What we have here, friends, is a malign God with a weirdly sadistic sense of humor.

Oh, and before somebody jumps in to contradict me on the matter of the bat:

Bats, pangolins, whatever

There are probably some persnickety fusspots who will try to get technical on me and say although Corona is a bat virus, the virus somehow got transmitted from bats to pangolins — disgusting-looking animals that resemble a cross between an anteater and an armadillo — and that therefore it must be wok-fried pangolin that caused the pandemic.

Have it your way. If you ask me, somebody who’d cook and eat (or serve) a pangolin is in precisely the same category as somebody who’d do that with a bat. Or for that matter, with three day old road kill armadillo grilled on a hot automobile engine block. He or she is an idiot. Kind of like Donald Trump but without the trappings of wealth, the followers on Twitter, or the power of the United States presidency.

But enough of that. 

As I write this I am eighty years old, with an immune system as likely to be as scrambled from eight decades of wear and tear as a the brain of a prizefighter who has taken a few punches too many to the head. It’s only a matter of time — and a random cough exploding from some shmuck in the street who doesn’t know to cover his mouth with his elbow — and I’m a goner.

Meanwhile, a few random
thoughts, observations, and reports.

My brother in San Diego called me to complain. He usually does his shopping in a weekend, out-of-doors, farmers market. But in response to the Corona Pandemic, the farmer’s market has been closed. Now everybody has to go to the crowded supermarket where anybody at all could have touched, squeezed or coughed on the tomatoes, not just one farmer. And of course, shoppers have to stand practically on top of one another, breathing down each others' necks on the checkout lines in an enclosed place.

Phew! Glad we solved the stay-healthy-while-shopping problem.

Got pain? Good!
Now live with it.

Not to be outdone by San Diego freezing out farmers, the powers here in New York have ordered local hospitals not to do any elective surgery until the plague passes. That’d be fine if the rule was about tummy tucks and wrinkle lifts. Uh uh. They’re also talking about knee and hip replacements. So people in agonizing pain who can barely get around will have to suffer for some unknown length of time, losing productivity, mobility, and even the ability to get to the supermarket. 

But hey, it’ll probably be great for the opioid business.

Cash flow? No no!

The no elective surgery rule makes me wonder about the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) here in New York, the nation’s leading orthopedic and joint replacement hospital. Aside from fixing the broken and crushed bones of people who on intermittent occasions get hit by a truck or fall off a ladder, most of the work done at HSS is joint replacement. It’s a big, big hospital. What’re they going to do with all those empty beds?

Without patients, the hospital’s going to have a cash flow problem of a magnitude that causes comptrollers to jump out of windows. Maybe they can stuff the beds full of Corona Plague patients. But the hospital, to my knowledge, has no ICU, because it’s not in the intensive care business. It's in the joint replacement business. So unless there’s some sudden heavy duty renovating, the really, really sick plague victims who get brought there will essentially be brought there to die. Just sayin.’

Wow! There’s bread!
Ouch! The price!

Yesterday, finally, I was able to buy a loaf of bread. It was at my local D’Agostino supermarket. It’s a small loaf of egg challah, admittedly a specialty bread, but not all that special. It was marked up to $7.99. There were no other choices. I took it. The detergent and soap aisles shelves were still mostly empty. Not to mention toilet paper. I wonder if people are going to get charged $15 for a roll of toilet paper?

But my heart 
belongs to Brooklyn

At 8 PM this evening (Monday) all gyms, casinos and restaurants in New York State were closed, in the interest of virus containment.  (However, you can still order takeout.) In recognition of the closings, our city’s mayor, Bill DeBlasio, fired up two SUVs, one for him and one for his security detail one last time and drove all through Manhattan to his old Brooklyn neighborhood to use his favorite gym at his favorite Y. Thus he added one final unnecessary blast of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, while contributing to the congestion that he habitually decries. He has been arrogantly unrepentant about his lengthy and very regular morning SUV travels from the Upper East Side, to Brooklyn, and thence back to lower Manhattan since he became mayor —demonstrating in yet another way that he is the very model of a modern rectal orifice.

From a column by Robin Wright
The White House announced on Saturday that President Trump’s test for the coronavirus was negative. Yet, from Brasília to Paris, Tehran to Ulaanbaatar, government officials on six continents—cabinet ministers, lawmakers, military leaders, senior policymakers, and health officials—have been infected with numbing speed by the virus. Dozens have gone into quarantine.  
Why do I have the feeling that the sadistic God with the malevolent sense of humor is saving up Donald Trump for something extra special? 


davidchop said...

Don't count out karma just yet. A reporter at Trump's presser today asked him about his experience getting tested. He could have said swab, was no big deal, whatever. Instead he did his shoot from the hip/bullshit routine as normal when he doesn't know the answer. In other words, I think he lied about taking the test. Fingers crossed!

seafury said...

Doesn't matter. As my pop in law, a charismatic Pentecostal Old Testament prosperity gospel preacher says " Donald Trump is annoited in the blood of the lamb, he is Gods chosen on earth and will lead us to the end times" (edited for brevity) then he grabs a handful of snakes and commences to babbling and drooling. So no worries there.

The New York Crank said...

Seafury, I assume by babbling and drooling you mean speaking in tongues. That doesn't impress me unless, while he's waving the snakes around, your father in law can also sing a few stanzas of "There's no business like show business," — first in English and then in tongues.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Buttermilk Sky said...

Just our luck that tertiary syphilis conveys immunity to coronavirus.

The New York Crank said...

ROTF, Buttermilk! Unfortunately, I doubt anybody in the White House reads this blog.

The New York Crank