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Slow your roll


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COVID-19 Insanity Syndrome has arrived, and it's not pretty. If you see a mother and child walking together, you don't need to call the SLO County Public Health Department and report it to Public Health Director Penny Borenstein. Calm down. People who live together are allowed to take a walk next to one another. Borenstein's plate is full—there's no room for your judgy, irrational paranoia.

If people inadvertently enter your 6-foot social distancing bubble, you don't need to curse them out. You won't instantly and automatically contract the novel coronavirus. Your attitude actually makes you immune to COVID-19. (Just kidding. You definitely have it now, asshat. Karma, baby.)

If you see nurses wearing scrubs in public, you don't need to scowl at them like they're plague carriers trying to French kiss your newborn baby. They need to be able to buy gas and groceries too, and they're working their asses off to help people. Plus, they're probably more sanitized than you! Chill out.

Speaking of groceries, if your checker touches her face and just keeps on checking your groceries, don't go berserk, especially since you're about to punch your PIN into a keypad that's been touched by the filthy butt scratcher who used it right before you. Wipe down your goods and wash your hands when you get home, and don't touch your ... too late. You touched your face. You're definitely doomed.

The point is there's a difference between vigilance and vigilantism. Use your common sense, which doesn't seem to be as common as we once thought.

On the other hand, if you see people purposely flouting the county's public health orders—for instance, your meth-cooking neighbors hosting a naked kegger or someone walking door-to-door having coughing fits on doorknobs—the county has now set up an Enforcement Hotline at (805) 788-2222 (operating Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., because who would break the rules after hours or on the weekend, amirite?).

Technically, the hotline seems to be focused more on businesses than individuals.

"We want everyone to voluntarily comply with executive orders, but if a local business refuses to comply, we will take action," SLO County Emergency Services Director Wade Horton said on the County Public Health Department website. "We do not want to do that. We need to work together as a community to slow the spread of this disease."

Non-essential businesses that refuse to comply can receive a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Hmm. Should I keep working and keep the money flowing and a roof overhead or take a free six-month vacation complete with three hots and a cot? Tough decision.

"We hope local businesses will do what's right for our community and follow our orders to protect public health," Horton added.

The newly opened Pismo Preserve hoped that hikers would also follow social distancing orders but instead it got shut down after multiple complaints of people congregating in the parking lot and near the bathroom area.

What part of social distancing don't you get? Come on, people! Get it together!

"Oh, but we're healthy hikers so we won't get the plague," said people who will totally get the plague if they keep this shit up.

Also, thanks, selfish jerks. Now I'll have to wait until after the apocalypse to hike the preserve. Hopefully I'll still be alive, being a small office appliance and all.

Neither COVID-19 nor I care if you're young; you're not safe either. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti told the LA Times, "It's coming. The peak is not here yet. The peak will be bad. People will lose their lives."

The article went on to explain that someone under 18 might have died of COVID-19 in LA County. Did you hear that, parents? I know your kids are bored. I know you've given up limiting their screen time. I know your children are already at risk of death because you want to murder the little brats. Even so, keep them away from their peers. Let them play Fortnite with their friends remotely. Introduce them to the joys of spin the bottle via Zoom. Virtual teenage shenanigans are the least of your worries right now.

I know for some people all these directives seem like overkill. It doesn't help when our orange Commander and Thief, Donald J. Trump, frequently downplays the severity of the situation or contradicts his health experts, some of whom have damaged their sight from rolling their eyes at tRump's inanities, most recently his desire to have the U.S. "opened up and just raring to go by Easter," which—in case you've lost track of what day it is—is just about two weeks away.

Health experts have made it abundantly clear that to slow the disease and not overwhelm our health care system, we'll need to shelter in place for months, not weeks. Trumplethinskin is more worried about the economy than people dying, as is Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who said grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren.

Really, Dan? You first.

I have an idea. Stay inside when possible. Social distance. Wash your hands. Make your kids read more. Try not to die (except Dan). Δ

The Shredder is unplugged by county health order. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.



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