People really ain’t too bright, are they?

Um, Craig. Do you really want to begin with such an insultingly broad generalization?

Fine! Some people are bright. For instance, the regular readers of my column (All nine of them). They’re very bright people. Also, they’re most lovely and handsome, their fashion sense is impeccable and they rarely ,if ever, slobber.

(Nice save, dude!)

Now, getting back to my “people ain’t too bright,” hypothesis, I give you a charming little tale of Reginald and Norm.

Reginald, being the novel coronavirus. (Get it? Corona meaning crown, and Reginald from Rex, the Latin word for king. Yeah, that’s right. I put some thought into this…) And Norm, being short for normal. (Obviously.) (Well, we’re not going to call him Steve.)

Well, it seems a lot of folks, including some pretty powerful people in the government, are of the opinion that Reginald has taken a summer sabbatical.

Trouble is, no one bothered to tell Reginald that. To paraphrase Mark Twain, The reports of Reginald’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Reginald is still ravaging the nation at will. Cases and hospitalizations are actually spiking in 21 states, with some saying Florida could become the next New York. Hence, Reginald definitely has not taken a summer sabbatical. However, (and I hate to befoul your summer ‘tater salad,) Norm is still missing.

Informed sources close to Norm have confirmed he’s on a beach on an undisclosed island in the South Pacific somewhere. He reportedly spends his day drinking potent sugary drinks while listening to women in grass skirts (and very little else) singing songs of the ocean, sky, and love in a language whose words are mostly vowels. Norm shows no sign of returning anytime soon. He’s content to be absent. To be perfectly clear, despite all insinuations to the contrary, Norm is far, far away.

It’s our own fault, you know. People have assumed Reginald took a sabbatical for the summer, and you all know what they say about those who have assumed: They make an assu about med. (Or something like that.) (Dang it! I never get that right!)

Yep. I see you out there, not wearing masks, getting all close, shaking hands, hugging, breathing all over each other, not paying attention to the signs, wheeling your cart the wrong way down the Walmart aisle, (you outlaw, you,) and generally flouting. Yes, you read that right. You’re flouting the guidelines smart people have given us to avoid the spread of this nasty virus. And you know what they say about people who flout. People who flout may very soon pout.

Or something like that…

So, returning to my “people ain’t too bright,” hypothesis, remember when those people stormed statehouses and capitols, promising they’d socially distance and do everything they were told to do if they’d just be allowed to go get a haircut and a tattoo and go to happy hour afterward?

They didn’t mean it, did they?

And all those protesters; some wearing masks, some not, all packed together like sardines in love. What do you think is going to be the net result of this, virus-wise?

The sad and horribly obvious truth is Reginald doesn’t give a rusty chromosome about your piddly plans and/or desires. Nor does he give a hang and a half about righteous outrage. Vicious little parasite he is, all he cares about is finding another host, and it would seem far too many of us are more than willing to oblige.

So Reginald continues to ravage while Norm has just ordered another Singapore Sling, and has talked the island singing girls into an encore. The way Norm sees it, if we’re not serious about wanting him back, (and our actions surely show we’re not) he might as well enjoy the booze and the tropical breezes. (And the girls. Oh, my goodness! The girls!)

And that, my friends, is what’s known as a modern fable. (Yeah, that’s right, Craig. You’re a regular old Aesop.)

Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.

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