Note from the Future: The post below was written just a few months ago, and already it is a time capsule. The full onslaught of Orwellian-sounding "social distancing" had yet to be implemented, perhaps because authorities were still counting on people taking their initial "low-risk" measures seriously. Too many people didn't. It's always harder to motivate with a pretty-please as opposed to the fear of big sticks. I believe many aspects of the measures to combat COVID-19 are still way over-the-top and based more on a political-charged narrative than empirical data. Wearing a bottle on your head is still as stupid today as it was back then. Still, I acknowledge there's a reckless flippancy to the below, and apologize if it causes offence accordingly. Some posts are indicative of the time in which they were written. Unfortunately, a pandemic of ignorance will continue to remain as relevant as it ever was.
Someone needs to just come out and say it: We have full-scale pandemic of unprecedented proportions! Scientists have now proven that if someone even looks at you askew in 2020 - and that someone happens to have neighbours with distant relatives in remote Pingxiang - it’s pretty much guaranteed your cranium will machine-gun mucous from your double-barrel nostrils and vaporize everyone within a fifty-two-mile radius. Oh, how we look back fondly on Ebola, which conveniently only killed people in Central Africa, victims that never gave us anything remotely as delicious as Balsamic vinegar. Remember how Zika deformed that entire generation of children? No joke is it, sitting behind millions of kids at the movies with their ginormous, misshapen, screen-blocking heads. Flus from birds and swine killed hundreds of millions across the galaxy, but somehow we endured, and let’s face it, waiting on hold for internet support is more manageable as a result. Humanity is nothing if not tenaciously opportunistic. We endure and survive and thrive in the face of asteroids and dinosaurs and cancelled Series A football matches. At least until the Coronavirus came along, this deadly contagion that spreads at the speed of light by sound, light, fluid, metal, thought, and more alarmingly, urine-hued Mexican beer.
Vigilance must be practiced. All schools must shut indefinitely so we can return to healthy states of stupidity. All social, religious and trade events must cease so we can withdraw into fear-crazed paranoid isolation (don’t worry, Amazon deliveries will continue unabated, Jeff Bezos will take care of that). It is necessary to close all the factories, shops, stores and businesses, because the virus can’t get us if we’re unemployed and starving to death during an economic Armageddon. Ground all boats, trains and planes, which are the true super disease carriers, transporting viruses under the finger nails and poorly disinfected toilet seats. And ban all Chinese nationals, I mean all of them, even the ones who have absolutely nothing to do with any of it, because although racism is a virus too, some viruses must thrive for others to wither.
There is now a 99.9% certainty that you will die within the next one hundred years. There’s simply no escaping it: YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. So please don’t judge imbeciles buying three tonnes of toilet paper and locking themselves up in quarantine because they sprained a toe. Celebrate their vast concern for the community, even as they run you over with their overflowing Costco cart and water bottles on their heads.
As an abundance of caution, urban surveyors are now scouting caves, preferably ones with smooth walls to hold the rock art that will replace Netflix and Disney+. Anyone know how to scrawl a pangolin with a burnt stick? Your career is looking a whole lot more promising than mine. At least according to the media, which is doing a cracker job keeping the score charts ticking over. Every morning I wake up and can’t wait to see how many more are infected, and how many more are dead. Is South Korea threatening China’s dominance? Is Northern Italy giving Iran a run for its money. Europe v South America? It’s the World Virus Cup. As we count the beans, who has time to worry about gun deaths or drug wars or Syrian refugees or the Big Mango inviting oil and gas consortiums to drill for gold in the San Diego Zoo. Cheetoh Mussolini is obviously taking this seriously, appointing a Vice Presidential robot in charge, a bureaucrat who doesn’t believe in science, evolution, the dangers of smoking, or women. COVID-19 is just where we want it, shaking on its microscopic knees. Over in China, doctors are incentivized to raise future health alarms with one-way tickets to hard labour Kashgar re-education camps. In Russia, anyone claiming the weather is too warm is permanently Putin-dipped into frozen Lake Baikal. Fortunately North Korea is quite content, as the more of its people who die of COVID-19, the less mouths there are to not feed. As for travel? Well, we’ve been freaking out about overtourism for a while, the impact of relentless masses descending on places that used be great when we went there, but now that you’re going there, isn’t so great anymore. Since the only Chinese person still travelling is a mid-level pantsuit designer from Chongqing, overtourism has fast being relegated to history, along with other formerly pressing issues, like Rachel’s haircut, and Justin Trudeau’s fancy dress. It’s a rough, tough time to be selling meaningful global interaction, or any interaction at all.
It’s a pandemic all right. A pandemic of fear and ignorance. A pandemic of media saturation and headline baiting. A pandemic of economic uncertainty and distrust. And while you have more chances of being stung to death by earthworms than dying of the coronavirus, I understand your feverish concerns, the media that fuels them, and why the economy must collapse so we can return to a simpler, more Stone-Age-like time. A glorious age when it was normal and encouraged to spit in our palms and shake our hands in trust. In the meantime, please don’t read this. Your eyes on my words will make me sick.
Please come in. Mahalo for removing your shoes.
After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.