Apr 10, 2020

Breaking News: Pandemic Restrictions Aren’t Restricted Enough!

Some modest suggestions on how to really flatten this curve

By Ed Goldman

Hey, what about getting haircuts during this international lockdown? wonders faithful reader Jim Drennan.

For the 15 years prior to his retirement from KCRA-TV News, Jim had been the NBC affiliate’s assignment editor here in the capital, though his background in TV goes much farther back. In an email he sent me the other day, he said, “I would imagine that most barber shops are closed since there’s no way you can give someone a haircut while maintaining that sacred social distance.” 

Jim said he “also noticed an ad for a gizmo called a Flowbee, made in the tonsorial capital of Kerr, Texas, that sells online for $140. I’m thinking about what I might look like after using one of these. Somebody sent me a picture of Jim Kerry in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and I’m debating whether to order one or just risk looking like The Wolfman when I emerge from isolation.”

The Wolfman, as you know, famously suffered from a condition called lycanthropy, which can certainly give a person paws (oh, look it up! It’s not like you don’t have the time to Google it).   

Photo of Jim Drennan by Matias Bombal, “I think,” says Jim

Anyway, Jim’s email prompted me to wonder if we need additional restrictions to help flatten the curve of this pandemic. I’d have written “to help lower the curve” but the president seems to do that every time he speaks.

1. You may continue to set your wristwatch for the next 18 weeks, but not to the correct time. 

2. TV newscasters will not be allowed to report on anything except either the global population’s continuing illnesses and deaths and Tom Brady’s new $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and whether it will bring him true happiness and a personality.

3. There needs to be a moratorium on newspaper reporters bemoaning the death of newspapers while we bemoan the deaths of actual people.

4. Does anyone have a copyright on the directive, “Wash your hands”? Asking for a friend.

5. Plumbers must stop making house calls.

6. Housekeepers must now take in floors to wash.

7. Old jokes like the two above must stop by Easter, when we’re all sitting side by side in church with the president.

8. Anyone who declared that Rudy Giuliani was “America’s mayor” after 9/11 will not be allowed to contract selective amnesia and declare that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would make a better president than Joe Biden. Or even than Joe Namath. People: We already have a frail-ego’ed, fatally vain, loud-mouthed New Yorker in charge of the country. Get a grip!

9. If you sneeze in the forest, and nobody hears you, your sleeve will still need to be disinfected.

10. People caught selling toilet paper on the black market—especially two-ply, with those cute, blue, apparently not anal-retentive bears on the package— will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Someday, anyhow. At the moment, law enforcement is a little “backed up,” so to speak. 

11. The new deadline to obtain your “Real I.D.” driver’s license will be about the same time peace comes to the Middle East.

12. All superheroes will be required to switch to masks that cover the bottom portions of their faces. Both Spider-Man and Superman will be granted a one-time exemption because the former’s mask covers his entire head and the latter seems to keep everyone from recognizing him by just putting on a pair of eyeglasses. Wonder Woman will also be given a mulligan if she promises to switch from her showgirl outfit to a new hairstyle and Tommy Hilfiger ensemble at the first threat of human interaction, since she’s completely unrecognizable that way.

13. In addition to washing your hands 60 times a day, it is strongly recommended you also wash your feet, at least as frequently. And don’t get us started about those ears.

14. Does anyone have a copyright on the directive, “Wash your feet”? Asking for a friend.

15.What about ears?

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).