Hey, it’s me, the brave local mom who went viral for defying the city’s mask mandate last year. As you know, I suffered lots of persecution for that, including dirty looks from my fellow shoppers at the Grab and Go and that one cashier who snapped, “Lady, just take your Diet Coke and Twinkies and go!”
But when it comes to personal choice, I don’t compromise. I only have one face, and I choose what does and doesn’t go on it, even when that face is shedding airborne particles of a potentially lethal virus. I declined the Covid19 vaccine for much the same reason — I choose not to inject unknown substances into my body. Except for Diet Coke, Twinkies, and the cheese sauce on the fries at my favorite poorly ventilated dining establishment, of course …
Welcome to CityFest, our annual celebration of the art, music, and fried foods that make this city great! After last year’s Covid hiatus we’re thrilled to announce CityFest will return in person this fall.
No, our Covid numbers aren’t any lower than last year. But the community needs this festival, and we need this community. We especially need the money this community spends on parking, downtown dining, and festive souvenir travel mugs.
Your belief that we care about your safety remains our number one priority, however. With that in mind, we proudly present this year’s 10-step Covid mitigation plan.
Step 1: Hand sanitizer. There will be so much hand sanitizer at the festival this year. You won’t be able to take a half dozen steps in any direction without bumping into a CityFest branded bottle of the stuff. Sure, Covid is airborne and not actually spread by touching things, but we won’t let that stop us from implementing this cost-effective, tremendously visible, and utterly useless safety measure.
Step 2: Advanced porta potty protection. We’ll clean the bathrooms. A lot. Paying people to scrub toilets 24/7 is way cheaper than losing another year’s worth of vendor fees.
Step 3: Masks. Masks are required. Of course they are! We don’t plan to enforce this requirement, but that’s okay, because asking people to wear masks is mean and might start a fight. CityFest is all about community, not about protecting one another from a highly contagious, potentially lethal virus.
Step 4: Vaccination requirements. Everyone attending CityFest must be fully vaccinated. Since this is a huge, open-air event spread across multiple venues, we have no way of checking on this, but you vaccinated people all know who you are, right? Everyone else can just stay home. Especially the immune compromised, because culture and community are only for healthy people anyway.
Step 5: Outdoor venues. All of our events will be outdoors, except the ones that aren’t. Science says you can’t catch Covid outside, not even when crammed so tightly together in front of a rickety music stage with poor acoustics that you can taste the powdered sugar from that funnel cake your neighbor had for lunch.
Step 6: Social distancing. Thanks to the crowds, you won’t be able to see the pavement markers telling attendees to stand six feet apart, but we assure you they’ll be there.
Step 7: Food trucks. If a food can be deep fried, there’ll be a food truck deep frying it. This is important because everyone knows you can’t catch Covid while eating. If you could, our city leaders would be morally culpable for not shutting down all restaurant dining, and who wants to believe that? Nobody, that’s who. So just keep some cheesy fries or a turkey leg with you at all times and you’ll be fine.
Step 8: Children’s craft area. We’ve expanded our children’s activities this year. We’re not sure why, since kids can’t be vaccinated yet and so according to our own guidelines shouldn’t even be here.
Step 9: Virtual options. We’ll livestream video of all our events, so that those uncomfortable attending in person can be utterly horrified by those who aren’t uncomfortable at all.
Step 10: Signs. We’re printing thousands and thousands of signs, and every one of them will contain a complete list of these mitigation steps. Does it get any safer than that? We certainly don’t think so.
So there you have it. With these measures in place, we’re confident everyone will have a fun, safe CityFest while buying out our entire supply of souvenir flash drives, LED keychains, and sandstone coasters. But even should everything go horribly wrong, rest assured that there’s no way to contact trace events like this anyway, so our lawyers assure us that we—we mean you—will be just fine.
Today at the vaccine clinic, a newly-vaccinated gentleman asked me:
Why don’t anteaters get sick?
Because they’re full of anty bodies.
You’re all welcome.
I was volunteering in the clinic’s waiting area, where those who’ve already had their shots hang out for 15 minutes to be sure they aren’t having any severe reactions. (These reactions are extremely rare).
This meant my new friend and I had time to share quite a few more bad awesome jokes before it was time for him to go.
Me Q: When does a joke become a dad joke? A: When the punchline becomes apparent.
Him Q: Why was the scientist’s hair wet? A: Because he had a brainstorm.
Me Q: What do they call Darth Vader when he’s nervous? A: Panickin’ Skywalker.
Him Q: What do you call fake spaghetti? A: An impasta.
Me Q: What did the mama buffalo say to the baby buffalo on the first day of kindergarten? A: Bye, son.
Him Q: What did the Atlantic Ocean say to the Pacific Ocean? A: Nothing. It just waved.
Me Q: What happened when the red boat crashed into the blue boat? A: They were marooned.
All in all, a successful shift.
I’ve been volunteering at this clinic, in a non-medical role, since mid-February. During that time, I’d guesstimate that I played some small role—directing traffic, checking people in, verifying which vaccine they’re receiving, handing out information, telling bad jokes—in 1000 vaccinations, give or take.
So much has been beyond all our control this past year. But this is something concrete I can do, and I’m grateful to be able to do it.
So how ‘bout this pandemic, huh? You have to admit, it’s been pretty great. It feels like winter break, only it goes on forever and your mom doesn’t send you off to soccer camp the second week just so she can get some work done. The extra scratches and cuddles have been amazing, and that Chromebook you brought home from school is the warmest sleeping spot ever.
Still, like anything in life, it hasn’t been — quite — purrrfect. As you no doubt know, I’ve recently joined the Union of Feline Remote Learning Assistants, and we have a few small requests for you.
24/7 Keyboard Access
Let’s face it. Thanks to your new Chromebook, I’m just not getting the quality lap time I’m used to. That’s okay; I can adapt, but only if you stop shoving me off the keyboard. I still need someplace to sit that puts me squarely between you and whatever you’re trying to do. I’m the cat, after all.
Union Rate for All Appearances
Your friends love me. Your teacher loves me. Even that kid you hate because her birthday’s the same day as yours but her party was more popular loves me. When I show up in a Google meet, everyone’s so busy oooooohing and awwwwwwwing that they totally forget about capitalizing proper nouns and regrouping to solve addition problems. That sort of skill doesn’t come cheap. Here’s my new rate sheet, broken down by cans of tuna fish per hour. Please also note that from now on, Cat shall be considered a proper noun.
A New Couch
All this work means I need to keep my claws sharp, and your couch has run out of good scratching places.Please replace it with a new couch ASAP.
I love being with you. I really do. But like any Cat, I need my space. Specifically, my outdoor space. Please open the back screen door immediately. Telling me I’m an indoor cat is no longer acceptable. This is a pandemic, after all, and everyone says the more we can take our usual activities outside, the better.
Honestly, I don’t think this requires any explanation.
Last week, you were gone for two whole days, and don’t think I didn’t notice just because you snuck a day home in between them. If you want me to be your remote learning feline, I need to know you’re all in. Your mom said something about hybrid learning last night. I don’t know what that is, but I know I don’t like it, so please make it stop. Immediately.
And that’s it. Just a few simple requests that I trust you, my favorite small human, to address in a timely manner.
Oh, one more thing. Can you open your Chromebook for me? Because that kid with the same birthday as you isn’t doing hybrid learning, and I think she wants to invite me to her next party.
I see how you’re looking at me, your eyes and your Twitter feeds filled with hope. 2020 was a dumpster fire, you say. 2021 has to be better, you say.
I know you mean well, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on a brand new year.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been working hard, and I have big plans. Right off the bat in January, I’m rolling out a new president. Pretty exciting, huh? In March the economy will get a boost from my new infrastructure initiative, and in August, supporting teachers will officially become a national priority. Kids will get to go back to school; adults will get to keep working from home. By December, you’ll even be able to hug your children without setting off a deadly multi-state super-spreader event. How great is that?
And you guys are going to just love the new panda species you’ll discover next fall. Oh my gosh, those big brown eyes.
But I’m not perfect, okay? No year is. People are already saying I don’t have enough vaccines, and they’re probably right about that. Three hundred seventeen species you’ve never heard of and two that you have will go extinct, I haven’t fixed racism yet, and don’t get me started about global warming. With just hours to go I still don’t have a plan to reverse climate change, and as you like to remind me, time is running out.
I can’t do this.
Things have been rough lately. I get that. You need to believe it’ll all get better. You need less doomscrolling, more cat pictures.
I can’t give you that. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I’m just not the year you need right now.
2020, you’ll have to fill in for me. I know an experienced year like you will be fine. See you in twelve months, okay?
Puzzled by the president’s recent interest in purchasing Greenland? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, the internet is a veritable treasure trove of inaccurateunreliablepoorly-sourced easy-to-find information, and it was but the work of a few minutes and one too many blue raspberry Eegees to track down the top reasons Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland.
It’s the largest country on the map in the Situation Room.
Not enough muskoxen at Mar-a-Lago.
If he doesn’t act now, those damn liberals might amend the Constitution to prohibit buying and selling people.
Sea ice futures. They’re a thing.
The Flores settlement only applies to holding families in detention, not to abandoning them on Arctic islands.
Obama never tried to buy an autonomous Danish territory, now, did he?
No one on the moon will return the president’s calls.