Slightly Off Center

My Corona

By Dennis Hinkamp

Let Uncle Dennis tell you a bedtime fable. “Stop crying, Jimmy. I’ve done all the research and there is only a .001% chance of a monster coming out from under your bed to eat you; sweet dreams.”

You wouldn’t say this to your three-year-old who was crying in his bed, so don’t use percentages to try to calm people down about Covid-19. Now is a time to listen. Now is a time for empathy.

People of all ages are irrational about risk percentages. Yes, you are more likely to die in a car accident, maybe being hit by a meteor or, who knows, eaten alive by a swarm of piranha-cisco mutations while swimming in Bear Lake. It doesn’t matter. You or your loved one is not .001% dead. You/they are 100% dead.

In these times, you can never go wrong with empathy. As my gone-but-still-favorite Cache Valley billboard said, “BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY” in big block letters. We can do this. It’s time for mindfulness.

If we are going to scare the elderly, at least define what “elderly” means. What do “underlying conditions” mean? You can find it on the Centers for Disease Control website, but I have yet to hear a news organization be specific. According to my math, I still have 13 years before I’m old enough be a Democratic presidential front runner and nine years on the Republican side. My underlying condi­tions might be so underlying that I don’t know what they are. I suspect most of mine are attitudinal rather than physical, but others might not be so lucky. Let’s take this seriously and be specific.

Care, share and be aware that we all have expulsion needs. I’m a little dismayed, disappointed, but not surprised by my fellow sapiens hoarding toilet paper. I was always too embarrassed to buy those huge 42-roll bricks of TP. I was afraid others would think I was buying it to late night vandalize someone’s house or to supply my new business venture, The Cholera Café. There are plenty of fecal jokes to be made with this situation but, again, choose empathy.

If a small percentage of people buy up any necessity, it will lead to either a black market, sanitation problems or both. Share if you care. And, if people start using wiping alternatives, it is going to clog up the whole local plumbing system. I guess toilet paper is now like cigarettes in prison; you can get anything in trade. I know it is true. I saw it in The Shawshank Redemption.

For college towna, the Covid-19 closures and cancellations were inevitable. The wild and crazy kids were likely to come roosting home from spring break with more than a tan and a bad tattoo or two. As someone in the risk factor age range, I commend Utah’s swift actions.

The cancellations are piling up. My annual tech orgy in Las Vegas was finally cancelled just this week. I’d like to think that whatever skank that already emanates from Vegas would be enough to repel a puny Covid-19, but I guess these are cautious times and I empathize. Sports have been wiped out. The NBA, NHL and MLB seasons have been cancelled or postponed. March madness is a memory. If the last thing you remember about USU basketball is Sam Merrill’s last shot, that would not be so bad.

There are some bright spots: The Coachella music festival, where celebrities dress like hippies and hippies dress like celebrities, was postponed. At the rate that the price of oil is dropping, gas will soon be 30 cents a gallon and you’ll get a free hot dog with every fill-up. I’m guessing my favorite Burning Thing diversion for the last 22 years might be cancelled as well.

Here’s my last minute Public Service Announcement: I saw a bunch of you loading up on bleach. Remember: Bleach can be toxic you if you mix it with almost anything but water. Also remember that more is not better; a 10% solution is all you need.

Lastly, if you’re having trouble with social distancing, I’m here for you. Hit me up for “Introvert Lessons: How to Avoid People Without Offending Them.” I have 64 years’ experience with no fatalities.

Dennis Hinkamp commends Weird Al Yankovic for already promising not to do a song parody called “My Corona!”


This article was originally published on April 2, 2020.