Appeasing the deranged.
“What’re you fuckin’ wearing that thing for?”
His jaw jutted out as he said it. You could see it jutting all the way out because he wasn’t wearing a mask, unlike me. I’d walked into the barber shop wearing my freedom-hating face pants and walked right into the telescoping secondary mouth of an HR Giger Alien if the Alien was a red-headed munter who smelled of Cheezels and beer.
What’re you fuckin’ wearing that thing for?
He was grinning, but it was a predator’s grin, his mouth a pulpy flesh-hole that started small and expanded to take up half his face. His teeth were crooked and yellow, like scaffolds rusting through broken concrete. Apart from the barber, he was the only person in the tiny shop.
“I had lung surgery, mate. Almost killed me. I’m still recovering.”
It wasn’t a thousand miles from the truth, but it wasn’t entirely nude spooning with reality either. Still, it worked.
“Oh,” he said. “Right.”
The jaw retracted, the tension ran out of his shoulders, and I was allowed to get my haircut without proving my manhood through trial by combat with an enormous fucking idiot in a Broncos jersey.
The Broncos merch was an excellent detail, but it would have been perfect if he was wearing the tee shirt I’d seen on another guy a few minutes earlier.
The Media Are The Virus, that teeshirt said, and the guy who wore it was another human mule for a massively gaping fish-mouthed orifice that spread apart in fanged layers full of grunts and gurgles and low-pitched hissing about freedumb.
All I wanted was to get a haircut and not catch Covid.
What they wanted was… what?
For the whole world to appease the deranged?
I got my haircut, but I think they might have won.
I open up the New York Times most days, hoping to learn Trump has choked to death on Big Mac overnight, but instead, the first thing I see is the Covid heat map.
We’re always the darkest blotch on this pandemic Rorschach test. We have been for months.
It’s weird, innit? We went from covid-shaming the rest of the world to letting Miss Rona put her hot mouth all over us. As of Wednesday, we had 5359 people in hospital with various flavours of Covid 19. The weekly death rate has doubled since May, averaging 79 every seven days. And we are “ranked second in the world for reported cases per million”, with only Brunei squeezing us into first loser position. (And if I might argue with the scorekeepers, it’s more than likely we’re underestimating our cases for a whole bunch of reasons, including the cost of rapid antigen tests and the even greater cost to minimum wage workers of going into isolation for a week).
It all changed this year.
While Australia has reported 9,225,519 cases since early 2020, 96% have been this year. This has led to Australia’s global ranking of cases, hospitalisations and deaths being among the highest in the world. – Michael Toole Associate Principal Research Fellow, Burnet Institute, Brendan Crabb Director and CEO, Burnet Institute.
We’re not special, of course. Omicron and its friendly little sub-variants are everywhere. But it feels like we’ve just given up here, even on the basics. Nobody is calling for lockdowns. Well, almost nobody and not for Miss Rona…
… But collectively, it’s like we’ve entered the denial stage of whatever process we’re moving through. I guess you can understand it because we were told that vaccines would make it all better. Not perfect, but better.
Ten thousand dead doesn’t feel like better.
And with some peeps on their second, third or even fourth time in the barrel, what long-term consequences are we piling up? The sucky ones. This study of five million US veterans found every reinfection increased your chances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness, gastric problems, neurological issues and, unsurprisingly, fatigue.
We’re all fucking fatigued by this thing, even those who haven’t had it yet.
I think that’s why collectively, we’ve been so susceptible to the will of the deranged. My guy in the Broncos shirt? The Media Are The Virus Guy? The cookers? The nutters? The freedumb jihadis? They’re not fatigued. They’re loving this.
Yeats had it right. The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
I’m still wearing my mask when I feel that I should, in enclosed public spaces mostly.
I still look around for the hand sanitiser, but it’s getting harder to find.
I think this is going to go on for a long time yet.