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Friday, March 20, 2020

"Idiot Zero"



Thursday March  19th

I’m up early to watch competing Press conferences.  I don’t understand something.  President Trump and his advisers are advising  keeping social distancing, yet there they are day after day lined up as close as ten pins.   The Canadians, on the other hand, are standing so far apart that it takes ten seconds for one of them to hike over to the podium.

Today, with the basics out of the way, I’m going to look for some of the non-essentials to make my hunkering down more comfortable: beer and candies.

I show up at the Liquor store just as they are opening.  The store looks like the supermarket – empty.  I take four cases over to the cashier.
“Good thing you’re stocking up,” she says. “They’re tell us we might be closing in a couple of days.
I take the four cases out to the car, then decide to go back for two more – just to be safe.  Then I walk over to the drugstore to see if they have any facial tissues.  They have no tissues, but the manager is handing out two bags of toilet paper per family.   I take my allotment, thanking him profusely.  As I stand in the lineup I get into a conversation with a guy in front of me.  I mention I hear they’re closing the liquor stores soon.  He throws the toilet paper to his wife and bolts out the door and runs over to the liquor store.  While I’m waiting in line I text a few of my friends  warning them they should stock up on booze soon because it might not be available.

I then head over to the dollar store to pick up my guilty pleasure: Jolly Ranchers (or, as my grandkids call them: Jolly Rogers).  I pick up twenty packs.    There’s a long line up.  They’re not many people, but they’re spread out keeping a six-foot distance between each of them.  I notice there’s a new ‘line dance.’ It’s called the ‘Covid Shuffle.’ If somebody moves forward, everyone moves forward.  If someone moves back, everyone moves back.  I’m waiting to see some genius putting it to music.   I like having a lot of space around me.  I’m not a ‘hugger.’  I come from a long line of non-huggers.  That’s why the Grobermans have survived the Black Death, the Plague, Polio, Cholera and Pogroms.  We keep our distance.

There’s an elderly lady behind me who isn’t paying attention.  I see her browsing the candies at the side of the line, and slowly getting close to me.  I inch a bit forward forcing everyone in the line to do the same.  She inches closer.  I repeat this, but she’s not paying attention, so I think I should gently bring it to her attention.
“Back off, bitch!!  Or I’ll wrap that walker around your neck.”
She gets the message.  I now seem to have a LOT of distance between me and other people.
While I’m waiting in line I begin to wonder if I shouldn’t walk back to the liquor store and pick up a few more cases of beer… just in case.

When I get there, the place is packed!  There are literally people lined up out of the door.  I go inside and there’s nothing left.  I see the clerk trying to restock.
“What happened, I ask.”
About twenty minutes after you left the place literally exploded with people.  Some idiot started a rumour that all the liquor stores are closing.”
“Isn’t that what you said?” I ask.
“No.  Just this store might close for a few days.  We’re renovating.
“Oh.”

That night on the news they announce there’s been a run on the liquor stores.  They go to great length reassuring people they aren’t closing the stores.  There’s no shortage.  They’re perplexed how the rumour got started.  My wife turns to me and says “They’re going to find out it was you.  You started it. you texted all your friends, and they texted all their friends and so on.”
“How are they are ever going to pin it on me?” I ask.
It’s like the coronavirus.  They’ll trace it all back to the person who started it.  In this case it won’t be ‘patient zero,’ it’ll be ‘idiot zero.’

I plan to hunker down at home and build a beeramid in the garage.

More in a few days.

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