E pluribus unum, fellow Social Distancers. Parting the mists of a heady cocktail of long bouts of rerun television and the occasional bleating of Kate Smith word jazz patriotism, comes time for our own vacuous corporate hood ornament to shine anew with fervent sentiment. Good lord, what does that mean? Why are the divorce attorneys and Burger King taking to television to respond to the Coronavirus? And why are they making more sense than the current president? Maybe, unlike Trump, they know that they have nothing to say other than “Hope for the best, expect the worst” and exit the flatscreen stage before some inkling to question their motives sets in. Trump just stands there, every day at about 4:00 PM and… Let’s just forget about Trump for a moment. And the next moment and the next moment. Come on, try! There. Doesn’t that feel better? And it does not require a mask or a shot or an effective treatment or a cure. Which is good, since most of us don’t have the sort of things.
We here at Hil-Gle’s Intercontinental Operations Conclave in sunny Chicagoland are doing our best at playing Club Fed. Unlike a real minimum-security prison, we are doing our own laundry and making our own meals. We have restricted our making phone calls only to those people we have thought about for the past ten years. Thus far we can report that everyone we have contacted electromagnetically is not dead. Which is good, since our electromagnetic séance capabilities are somewhat limited. Proactive plans to cover additional communications contingencies are predicated on the term-fluidity of our current cable TV compact and whether or not there is a cash award for using ‘proactive’, ‘contingencies’ and ‘predicated’ in a sentence. We are not holding our breath, despite the larcenous levels of remuneration demanded by said cable ‘provider.’ First, they jack up my rates and then I am confined to home. Talk about being vice twisted by the googies.
Speaking of googies, let us think of them like Trump and try not to think of them. Easy enough for you to do. They’re not your googies.
Hil-Gle has always wondered what it would be like to live through a dystopian novel. Plague would not have been our first choice of background menace, however. Hil-Gle is not sure what flavor of Mad Max it would prefer to hopefully survive, but this does suck. A comet strike would be worse, as would a persistent solar flare. Those would be more or less quick but might still suck because there would be nothing on cable TV, ever again. I suppose the upside is no Fox News. (We would insert a joke about a plague which only kills Fox viewers, but that may prove too close to reality to voice, even in jest.) Much like He Who We Are Not Thinking About, Fox News has made the scatological switch and twitch back between plague denial, plague political conspiracy and feel good stories about Americans helping Americans during this time of crisis. Nice of them to go from National Enquirer to Stars and Stripes. (People under 100 take note: National Enquirer was a newspaper which specialized in lying as a form of reporting and Stars and Stripes was a military publication noted for stories about grunts making good.) Normally this is the time of year when internet search engines are abuzz with inquiries as to where Gonzaga is located. Basketball and sports in general seem like a minor loss compared to ACTUAL CONTACT WITH ALL HUMANS (as opposed to the idiots at the grocery store.) Let me make this clear to all of you diseasoids out there—STAY AWAY FROM ME. We joke, really, when we’re not blubbering like the sissies we are or shouting at the television when He Who We Are Not Thinking About comes on.
Speaking of ranting, we here at Hil-Gle have decided to postpone all ill feeling towards China and communism and totalitarian bastards in general. Not that this makes these people more palatable, just that there is no point to it. Yes, the Red Chinese government is entirely to blame for this. Each and every death is on their hands, the real testament to their rise as a world power. Our lack of resources for dealing with this mess is on us, on greed capitalism, on an overt willingness to exploit people we know are slaves just to save a few pennies. There will be plenty of time to contemplate this, once all this mess is over. They have a saying in baseball about how a having a good manager as opposed to having a bad manager accounts for about a 10 point difference in win/loss percentage. In American football, the coach has a much greater impact. While there is no question that He Who We Are Not Thinking About is a zero as leader, it’s unclear which game our government’s actions are analogous to. American culture is robust, our institutions generally sound, but no one has ever designated the Federal Government a “back up” program before. Previously it was the instrument which created the Free World.
Hil-Gle is compiling a listing of things not to think about now. Better to think about nicer things or at least make this time work for you. Oh, who the hell are we fooling. The prisons are full of people attempting to make time work for them. Consuming distractions in quantity with variety is the best most of us can hope for. We had not even started to contemplating business continuation, much less loans, when our own Mister Fun appeared at our door, demanding that we lay him off. When last we spoke with Mister Fun he had departed our employ to toil in the campaign of one Michael Bloomberg. You may recall Bloomberg’s ads, if not the person himself. You may recall that there’s a political campaign in the offing, also. When last we checked, Michael Bloomberg was not one of the viable candidates, having fallen to a venom-clad impression from Liz Warren’s dick. I’m sure I recall Bloomberg stating that he would put the remainder of his massive war chest on the line reminding us all of the person or persons who still are viable candidates. Unlike this nation’s fine divorce lawyers and the now reemerging Shamwow guy, the Democrats and the campaign itself are social distancing. This seems a strange strategy until Hil-Gle remembers his every 4:00 PM or so date with He Who We Are Not Thinking Of. Every word out of his mouth is the best advertisement for anyone else.
As for Mister Fun, he was commissioned to craft an advertorial manifesto in You Tube form for the wonderful ex-Mayor of New York--which Mister Fun took his damn time with. He’s now on the second draft of the shoot script. This would be fine, if it were timed for the general election. And Michael Bloomberg were still a candidate. Hil-Gle has opted not to option this work, given that Hil-Gle is not Michael Bloomberg. This makes Hil-Gle part of a progression of monied entities to decline patronage for the completion of Mister Fun’s You Tube masterwork. While we are sure that such is indeed ‘epic’, it is not something that a confined to home forever game publisher can justify expenditure upon. Note: when Hil-Gle is considered a monied party, hell has frozen over. But we don’t want to stiff Mister Fun (horrifying in any permutation to contemplate), so we have offered him an opportunity to perform something like work, after which we will promptly sack his ass. Hil-Gle is not sure how this constitutes a favor, however it beats having Mister Fun live in our car.
My Fellow Humans:
Please allow me to respond to the coronavirus. The term respond is broad, although I am sure that it is not intended that I should address the virus directly. I do intend to address the subject of the virus, however not the virus itself. I am not a virus whisperer. I do not speak virus or Mandarin. I would be at a loss as to which orifice to speak into. Please be assured that I would attempt to speak to the virus if it were in you and it could be reasonably expected that it would do any good. In which case, I would be happy to speak into whichever of your orifices is most expedient in doing the trick. That’s the type of man I am—bravely offering to perform useless rituals. Sadly, I am not alone.
There is nothing a true huckster dislikes more than not having a monopoly on a subject. He may dislike it, although it is rare that one is first in with the offers of snake oil or hopium. What hucksters really dislike is when their acts have become shop-worn through previous repetition. There is a certain degree of modeling that goes on in the huckster field and only a finite number of huckster moves. After a while you are more playing to audience expectations than you are to making an actual sale. And that ain’t right. This is where we are on Coronavirus. There is a set format. And I have only limited latitude in its application.
First let me emphasize how important Hil-Gle is to the support of its community. It isn’t, but that’s part of the gig. Hil-Gle and Mister Fun himself are here to eat, poop and buy things. As long as Hil-Gle continues to have money it will continue to do so. Adding to this is an aspiration to not resort to cannibalism or looting or eating unhygienic foods. These are stretch goals. Allow us to rah rah for those unfortunate souls in the service sector, stocking our shelves, tending the sick, facing the perhaps lethal public. This is not shocking news: you have lost life’s lottery. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be working from home shelter in place are doing so safely thanks to your support. That most of you are not paid better is a crock of crap. Hil-Gle is itself supported by what has been dubbed an essential worker. The essential part is that this person continues to be paid. Nothing is certain, ever—and these times serve as an excellent reminder of that maxim.
Allude to other historic struggles mankind has overcome. There’s a big pot of things that we’ve done, issues solved, especially on the disease front. And plagues do die out. In the middle of it, however, it’s bad form to randomly babble preambles like “when the history of this crisis is written” and then pull specific panaceas out of thin air, such as “big data”, “internet” or “nanotech.” That has no value. That’s just being a tout. Whatever the solution is likely to be will be based on education, insight, talent, luck and hard work. Fate will choose a hero and give his weapon a name. Until that happens, there’s a body count to endure.
Emphasize common sense and togetherness. Unless you have a space suit handy, your survival is probably predestined by biology. The carriers are going to live. The infirm and the susceptible are at risk. Masks, handwashing and social distancing are mitigation rituals with unknown ratios of efficacy. Common sense says shutting down all society should work. Even that is not certain and it’s certainly not a solution. Keep in mind that much of what you are being instructed to do as far as safety is concerned is largely a distraction. Help out with what you can, if you can. Given that no testing is likely to take place to determine which of us can help and which of us is a mobile hazard, any help you render is a risk. Your biggest role in this is to remember what has transpired. Remember the charlatans, the nimrods, the parasites and the gougers. In the aftermath there will be a rewriting of history which needs to be thwarted. We need to hold people accountable, for the housecleaning to follow.
Suddenly lose interest in the topic and talk about your pets. This is a unique characteristic of the coronavirus crisis. Chances are, your career is not a big deal. It only seemed like it was. If you’re lucky, you’re surrounded by the people who matter to you. Take some joy in that. Make it a point to take your opportunities for happiness where they can be found. Maybe we will all be better grounded after this is all over.
End on a Hopium Note. I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t. This is over when it’s over and it is only over for you when it’s over where you are. There’s a lot of us in this. We’re pretty smart as a lot. No society in history has ever evaporated as the result of exposure to a single plague. That said, this is the stuff of nightmares. Most of us will wake up from it. Those who don’t will leave us all the lesser, will have been robbed of their potential. This did not have to be this way. There are guilty parties in this. We owe it to the lost to make sure this does not happen again.
Keep calm. Keep score. Good luck.