Coronavirus humor Edvard Munch’s Scream: Don’t panic! Don’t touch your face!

Image result for the scream

As of this writing, the death rate for the Coronavirus in these USA is 4.71%. That’s 16 deaths into 339 reported cases. Obviously, that doesn’t include untested mild cases, but that’s also true for unreported mild influenza cases, right? Taking into account reported cases (how else?), the Coronavirus has a mortality rate that is hyperbolically higher than bad strains of influenza, a kind of never-before-scene-in-these-modern-times scenario.

Just the facts. Some will say that reporting on facts is scare mongering, and that we should do the same thing as was done around the first world war when huge percentages of the world population died, it is said, by absolutely playing down the facts. The thing is, people read through any playing down strategy and that bit of lying is what creates panic: Why the lying? I’m always all about just the plain truth. We can all deal with that. The best way to keep people calm and not to panic is to tell the truth. Then we know what we have before us. Then we use our brains to solve the problem. Not to tell the truth because of being in a panic and being all afraid of spreading panic is exactly the kind of fear which creates panic.

But panic is an emotion leading to herd looting herd home-invasion herd lawlessness mentality which ends up killing more than any virus ever could. Don’t panic. Just the facts. Deal with it.

Having said all that, the question is as to whether you’ve ever had the bottom drop out of your little world, and then what did you do about that? I had the bottom drop out of my world. Many times, actually. It’s a blessing. It rearranges priorities. It’s an occasion to turn to God, with humility. Great!

On one occasion, in my early twenties, I had a horrific case of Entamoeba histolytica dysintery that would have killed me off, with urine the color and consistency of black tar and the back-end being the color and consistency of yellow Gatorade, just clearer, more like water, and the eyes totally jaundiced as the little beasts were quickly eating my liver. At the time I was volunteering for the Missionaries of Charity at their home for the dying in Calcutta. How appropriate.

So, there I was, five minutes on the bed, and then twenty-five minutes in one of the two toilet stalls of the Salvation Army hostel where I was staying. The 5 min bed / 25 min toilet was locked into a 24/7 cycle. Talk about losing weight! Keto has nothing on Entamoeba histolytica. With dazed mind I read – and re-read a thousand times – all the graffiti on the back of the door and the walls of the sickly sweet smelling stall even while the little window allowed the smoke of the little manure fires cooking food on the street to waft inside. A peculiar mix of odors. A very clever poet traveler with similar digestive problems had written this:

  • “If you think the bottom has dropped out of your world, come to Calcutta, and you will think the world has dropped out of your bottom.”

Hahaha – sigh – Fine. I guess you would have had to have been there.

In these days of Novel Coronavirus CoVid-19 panic mongers, sometimes a little humor goes a long way toward teaching low-panic ways and means of dealing with any virus. One bit of advice came from some high level health official knucklehead testifying in the U.S. Congress the other day about avoidance-of-the-virus strategies. One of those strategies was NOT TO TOUCH YOUR FACE. Meanwhile, the nice lady who was screaming her testimony (so to speak) about the validity of this strategy was – in front of God and Congress and the whole world – continuously touching her face. Ah, the irony!

Here’s the deal: Maybe this bit of humor will help you put the basic strategies into effect in your daily life. It’s simple, but good. Most importantly for the not-to-panic theme: get your soul right with God. Be calm and want to go to heaven in any situation.

I might add that there was something even better than this humor, making it all very personal, having us identify with the personal feelings of another. I know: ♬ Feeelings… ♬ … Woah, woah, woah… ♬ Feeelings…♬ But I’ll say it anyway. POTUS Trump was talking about the NOT touching your face thing. He said that he’s been putting into action the NOT-touching-one’s-face thing and he misses touching his face. Missing touching my face was my reaction exactly. People otherwise do this unconsciously about 20 times an hour. It’s that personal anecdote which stops my hand to the face.

Meanwhile, a health care worker testing patients for coronavirus got coronavirus even though wearing a special respirator. It didn’t help her. Why? I’m guessing because she kept re-adjusting the mask, touching, of course, her face. Get it? It’s like a new concealed carrier of a pistol. He or she is always checking on it, making sure it’s there. Don’t do that either.


So, if I were to wear a mask while going to emergency scenes with our local PD, well, I couldn’t wear a mask. Why not? I have a beard. A priest friend of mine calls beards CVIs: Coronavirus Incubators. Hahaha. So again, I ask the question as the numbers continue to rise, including the numbers of quarantines around the country, do I scream as in The Scream above, or do I shave my beard (I would hate that, nicking and cutting my face and making entryways for Coronavirus received by touching my face…. grrrr…) and then scream as in The Scream above, or…

Here’s the deal, it’s not just a one-on-one situation in hospitals and nursing homes and at incident locations, it’s about large gatherings at churches and social halls, it’s about “public speaking” if you will, during the Mass and while preaching. I’m a priest. Can you do all that in a respirator? And why would I have a respirator while no one else has a respirator? I mean, picture it, a priest at the altar saying Holy Mass with a respirator on. It’s absurd. Again, what about everybody else?

It’s devolves into inconsistencies, just as does the administration of Holy Communion no matter if it’s in the hand or on the tongue: Do priests or EMHCs (though we are too small to have those in this parish) use hand sanitizer between every communicant? And if so, do they purify their fingers in the little water bowl thingy next to the tabernacle before they do that so as not to possibly desecrate the Blessed Sacrament with hand sanitizer? And is a new bowl used every time, that is, after every single communicant? And is that bowl washed down the sacrarium and then washed and sanitized in the sacrarium every time, for every communicant? No? You get the idea. Therefore: either you administer Holy Communion or you don’t. Right now, we do.

But, all the same, do NOT touch your face!

Please share this post. You might save a life. A little humor goes a long way.

3 Comments

Filed under Humor, Medicine

3 responses to “Coronavirus humor Edvard Munch’s Scream: Don’t panic! Don’t touch your face!

  1. nancyv

    all the things we should and shouldn’t do… (like eating a bowl of cereal at the desk while reading about your Entamoeba histolytica dysentery) You keep us grounded in the love of God and neighbor Fr. George Byers! Deo gratias.

  2. Aussie Mum

    I’m not panicking. There haven’t been any Covid-19 cases reported in my local area to date, so what my son and I have is probably only a cold – odd though, since here in the southern hemisphere summer has just ended. The weather is beautiful at the moment, neither hot nor cold, and the flu season doesn’t get underway for another 3 months. Nevertheless, we each have a sore throat, a fever that comes and goes, a cough (mine productive and his not) and I have a persistent headache and am somewhat shorter of breath than usual. Other than that we are OK and unless things get worse we should be over whatever it is in a few days to a week. Hope everyone else is OK too.

  3. pelerin

    People are commenting on the web about the unfairness of banning Communion on the tongue. At least they can still attend Mass, However the Bishop of Beauvais in France has gone as far as banning all public Masses in his diocese as the Oise area of the country has been badly hit by the virus.

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